NFL deal boosts Warren's hope


Well-Known Member
Jan 22, 2006
Reaction score
NFL deal boosts Warren's hope
Broncos tackle aims to stay; salary-cap increase could help
By Lee Rasizer, Rocky Mountain News
March 9, 2006

Gerard Warren is planning a meeting today with his agent.
The defensive tackle's message will be much the same as the one he's been saying all along: Get a deal done with the Broncos.

Yet NFL labor peace reached Wednesday night might finally assure that can occur - and quickly, too.

"I'm trying to stay in Denver, Colorado," said Warren, who's scheduled to hit the open market at 10:01 p.m. MST Friday. "I'm not really trying to look into free agency. What we had was beautiful there, man."

In Warren's case, the new collective-bargaining agreement stirred the same type of warm and fuzzy thoughts.

The labor deal loosens restrictions regarding the way contracts are structured, allowing for a longer proration period on bonuses, and puts about $7.5 million more of salary-cap space in the pockets of teams for 2006.

That helps a team such as the Broncos, who stood only about $4.3 million under a salary cap had labor talks gone awry. That limited space under what could have been a $94.5 million cap would have been enough for draft picks and a couple minor deals, yet left little wiggle room without cutting players or reworking contracts to afford a deal like the one Warren is expected to command, and perhaps couldn't have happened at all.

"It's taken a lot of stress off my shoulders," Warren said not long after the owners approved the extension through 2011.

The defensive tackle had been been going through various scenarios with Joel Segal, his representative, in recent weeks given the labor uncertainty.

Lingering questions about whether a fair deal could be structured for Warren without a new CBA in place remained. The player's answer to Segal was always that there would be a way to adjust somehow but having a labor extension would take much of the ambiguity out of negotiations.

Had the sides broken off talks without an accord, "It was pretty much going to change the basis of the contract that was going to be structured on my behalf," Warren said.

"Now, it gives me a sense of my dollar value and the kind of contract I can negotiate" with the Broncos.

But Warren sees another side benefit, other than personally.

It will allow coach Mike Shanahan more room financially "to actually bring in other players that are going to get us to the Super Bowl next year."

The Broncos made keeping their own pending free agents a top priority this off-season and already have retained center Tom Nalen, left tackle Matt Lepsis, defensive end John Engelberger and safety Sam Brandon. Three players were cut, saving nearly $15 million in salary- cap space, and others restructured to provide more room.

The team still is attempting to work out deals with long-snapper Mike Leach, running back Ron Dayne and linebacker Keith Burns, but Warren is the only full-time starter without a contract next season. He had 42 total tackles last season along with three sacks in his only season with the Broncos after a trade from the Cleveland Browns.

Should Warren opt for free agency, he likely would get serious attention because the defensive tackle group is considered thin.

But the chance to stay with the Broncos is more alluring.

"Coach Shanahan has a successful plan. We were one game away from the Super Bowl," Warren said. "And I don't see this team having to rebuild like we did every year in Cleveland. We're competitive every year."

Warren kept his residence in Colorado, expecting to get another deal done with the Broncos. He might need to use it in the next couple days.

"I'm ready to get on a plane," he said about returning to possibly complete negotiations. "I'm excited.",2777,DRMN_23918_4526965,00.html
This thread has been closed due to inactivity. You can create a new thread to discuss this topic.