Nalen pact done deal


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Jan 22, 2006
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Nalen pact done deal
By Bill Williamson
Denver Post Staff Writer

Detroit - Tom Nalen is a Bronco for life.

Late Tuesday night, the Broncos and Nalen - a slam dunk Ring of Fame member someday - struck a deal, according to a source close to the negotiations.

The complicated deal essentially will keep the 34-year-old center with the Broncos for the rest of his career. There are loopholes in the contract that can keep him with Denver longer.

Now, Denver's biggest free-agent targets are left tackle Matt Lepsis and defensive tackle Gerard Warren. The team was urgent about Nalen's contract since it was set to expire Feb. 7.

Drafted by the Broncos in 1994, Nalen said he was was considering retirement in August because his contract voided. After the loss in the AFC title game, Nalen said he wanted to continue to play for Denver.

Slow process
Don't expect a fast resolution to the Broncos' dance with Terrell Owens.

The Broncos were the first team to meet with Owens this offseason, but that doesn't mean the rest of the process will wrap up quickly. The Broncos are likely to keep in touch with Owens and agent Drew Rosenhaus, who visited Denver coach Mike Shanahan on Monday. Owens is likely to look at other teams, such as Tampa Bay and Miami.

Denver could decide it wants to sign Owens as a free agent, which would mean waiting until March, when the Eagles likely would release him.
The risk of waiting is that a bidding war could ensue.

By trading for Owens, Denver would inherit his current contract. He is due $7.5 million in March. Two-thirds of that money is in roster bonuses, with the remaining $2.5 million in signing bonuses.

The roster bonus would likely be changed before a trade. Otherwise, any team that makes the deal would be tied to the bonus.

Denver is likely to hire an extra offensive coach to assist new offensive coordinator Rick Dennison on the line. Signs point to New York Jets quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, who met with Shanahan on Monday.
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