Free agents give Denver the brushoff

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Free agents give Denver the brushoff
Lewis, Carter opt for other deals
By Bill Williamson
Denver Post Staff Writer
DenverPost.com

The Broncos entered free agency with two outside targets, both of whom were to hit town Monday. One never got to Denver, the other quickly departed. Both will be playing elsewhere.

In a hasty turn of events, the Broncos lost out on Baltimore running back Jamal Lewis and San Francisco defensive end/linebacker Andre Carter.

Lewis, who was scheduled to arrive in Denver in the afternoon, agreed to terms to remain in Baltimore early Monday morning. Lewis signed a three-year, $26 million deal - more than Denver was willing to bid.

Lewis, who said he was being courted to Denver by his college roommate Al Wilson, said he was serious about Denver before Baltimore upped its offer.

Though Lewis never hit Colorado on Monday, Carter did. But not for long. Carter, the son of former Broncos defensive tackle Rubin Carter, visited Washington on Sunday. With no offer from the Redskins, he traveled to Denver.

However, Washington, the biggest spender in the early phases of free agency, then showered a six-year, $30 million deal on the 49ers pass rusher. It was enough for Carter, who was born in Denver, to eschew his roots.

The Broncos, who have more than $8 million in salary cap room and about $5 million to $6 million to spend on free agency, have been seeking an impact player on each side of the ball.

Among the few remaining are two players long connected to Denver: receiver Terrell Owens and defensive end John Abraham. Owens will be released by the Eagles in the next 48 hours and Abraham is touring potential teams the Jets may trade him to. The Broncos likely will visit with Abraham this week.

Owens has been connected to the Broncos since he visited with coach Mike Shanahan on Jan. 30. He is the sole remaining established offensive playmaker on the market. Buffalo receiver Eric Moulds could emerge as a candidate if the Bills cut him.

With Lewis out of the mix, Denver likely will try to address its tailback needs in the draft. The best remaining free-agent running back is Seattle backup Maurice Morris. Denver has the 22nd and 29th picks in the first round, and team sources said they likely will take a back to compete with incumbents Ron Dayne and Tatum Bell. There is some thought that LenDale White of USC and Chatfield High School might be available when the Broncos pick.

If the Broncos are interested in Abraham at defensive end, they may have to bid against other teams - notably Seattle and Cleveland. If Denver passes on Abraham, it could try to sign Kalimba Edwards or another defensive end at a bargain price or wait for the draft.

Footnote

Expect special-teams captain Keith Burns to officially sign when he returns to Denver.

http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_3599572
 
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