NFL Nation: Le Kevin Smith
Potential unrestricted free agents: P Mitch Berger, S Vernon Fox, T Brandon Gorin, Nick Greisen, G Ben Hamilton, G Russ Hochstein, DE Vonnie Holliday, CB Ty Law, WR Brandon Lloyd
Potential restricted free agents: LB Elvis Dumervil, OL Chris Kuper, WR Brandon Marshall, QB Kyle Orton, TE Tony Scheffler, DT Le Kevin Smith
Franchise player: None.
What to expect: The Broncos’ restricted class is talented. That will be the focus. It has been reported that Marshall, Orton, Dumervil, Scheffler and Kuper will all get one-year tenders. Marshall very well could be traded. It wouldn’t be a shock if Dumervil gets some action on the restricted market. Miami could be interested.
Potential unrestricted free agents: OL Andy Alleman, S Mike Brown, WR Chris Chambers, WR Terrance Copper, TE Sean Ryan, C Wade Smith, LB Mike Vrabel, WR Bobby Wade
Potential restricted free agents: RB Jackie Battle, QB Brodie Croyle, LB Derrick Johnson, LB Corey Mays, OL Ikechuku Ndukwe, OL Rudy Niswanger, OL Ryan O'Callaghan, S Jarrad Page
Franchise player: None.
What to expect: The Chiefs are interested in keeping some of their unrestricted free agents. General manager Scott Pioli said at the combine the team has been in contact with several of their free agents. Chambers is the focus. The team is trying to keep him. Brown and Vrabel could also return with new deals.
Potential unrestricted free agents: S Hiram Eugene, G Cornell Green, T Langston Walker, LB Sam Williams
Potential restricted free agents: LB Jon Alston, OL Khalif Barnes, LB Ricky Brown, LB Jon Condo, QB Charlie Frye, QB Bruce Gradkowski, LB Thomas Howard, RB Luke Lawton, OL Chris Morris, LB Kirk Morrison, CB Stanford Routt, RB Gary Russell
Franchise player: DE Richard Seymour.
What to expect: The Raiders franchised Seymour and signed kicker Sebastian Janikowski to a record deal, so they’ve already been busy. It will be interesting to see how they tender Howard and Morrison. The Raiders could use some new life at linebacker and this could be the start of it.
Potential unrestricted free agents: DT Alfonso Boone, TE Brandon Manumaleuna, C Dennis Norman, WR Kassim Osgood. T Jon Runyan, DT Ian Scott, TE Kris Wilson
Potential restricted free agents: OL Jeromey Clary, LB Tim Dobbins, WR Malcom Floyd, DT Antonio Garay, OL Eric Ghiaciuc, LB Marques Harris, WR Vincent Jackson, DT Travis Johnson, OL Marcus McNeill, LB Shawne Merriman, RB Darren Sproles, QB Charlie Whitehurst
Franchise player: None
What to expect: The Chargers have their hands full. It’s been reported they will give high tenders to Jackson, Merriman, McNeill and Floyd. Jackson and McNeill could still attract some interest on the restricted market. Sproles is not expected to be tendered, making him a free agent. The Chargers want him back. But if Sproles hits the open market, the multifaceted weapon could be scooped up quickly.
Putting the first-round tender on Marshall also sets the trade market. Teams can offer Denver a trade package for Marshall and this tender sets the bar. An NFL head coach said at the combine that he believes Denver will get a first-round pick for Marshall.
Expect Denver to have discussions with several teams about Marshall in the coming days. He is definitely priced to move, which is why some suggest Chicago may make a run at Marshall. The problem for the Bears is that they don’t have a first- or second-round pick this year. Chicago’s first-round pick was sent to Denver in the Jay Cutler trade last year.
Denver also gave the first-round tender to quarterback Kyle Orton and guard Chris Kuper. Both of those players probably will not attract a first-round pick. They should stay in Denver.
The Broncos treated defensive end Elvis Dumervil the way Marshall was expecting to be treated -- he was given the highest tender. Teams will be interested in Dumervil, who led the NFL with 17 sacks in 2009. Still, the price tag may be too high for teams to pursue Dumervil. Expect him to stay in Denver.
Denver gave the second-round tender to tight end Tony Scheffler and did not tender defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith, allowing him to test the open market.
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
Random thoughts from Denver's 27-13 loss at Seattle on Saturday night:
- Kyle Orton wasn't perfect, but he was much better against Seattle than he was against San Francisco, where he threw interceptions on three straight series.
- Orton completed 18 of 26 passes for 182 yards. He threw one interception. Orton played into the third quarter. It is clear Orton will be given every opportunity to keep his starting job.
- Defensive lineman Kenny Peterson had two sacks and now has three sacks in two games.
Newly acquired defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith played extensively. The former New England backup has a chance for major playing time.
- Speaking of New England, former Patriots backup Jabar Gaffney is becoming a favorite target of Orton's. The longer the Brandon Marshall saga goes on, the more opportunities Gaffney will get with the first team.
- Rookie Kenny McKinley has been good in the receiving game, but he had issues keeping his hands on the ball in the return game against Seattle.
- Struggling kicker Matt Prater came through with a 53-yard field goal. That could go a long way in helping him make the team.
- Denver's run defense bounced back and allowed Seattle just 72 yards. The run defense has been one of Denver's biggest problems.
The NFL's two biggest offseason trades were facilitated through old associates.
New England Patriots overlord Bill Belichick didn't hesitate to swing a trade with former player personnel man Scott Pioli, sending quarterback Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs in February.
The New York Jets dealt with their freshly fired coach, Eric Mangini, in the blockbuster draft-day trade that landed quarterback Mark Sanchez with the fifth overall pick. The trade reunited Mangini with three of his former players.
On Monday, Belichick bartered with another ex-Patriot on a smaller-scale swap.
Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, the former Patriots offensive coordinator, knew enough about defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith to acquire him and a seventh-round draft choice for a fifth-round pick.
Belichick explained trades with coworkers-turned-opponents often are easier to make.
"It's a situation where they know the player," Belichick said at his Monday news briefing. "When you trade for somebody, you want to know what you're getting. So I'm sure that's part of it for them.
"We've been on the other end of that, too, and that's important. But I certainly have a high level of trust with both Scott and Josh."
"There's no real 'It's got to be this team or that team,' " Belichick said. "You just never know where those opportunities are going to be, and you never know who's going to be interested in working with you.
"So we try to keep all the doors open other than just probably one or two teams I doubt we'd be having a lot of trade talks with."
Such as the teams within in the division -- and perhaps wherever Mangini's working.