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Thread: Hired help by dozen

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    Default Hired help by dozen

    http://www.denverpost.com/sports/ci_11838883

    These are not the Broncos.

    Not the Broncos whom Denver-area football fans cheered for in 2008. These are Josh and the X Men.

    After signing two more veteran running backs LaMont Jordan and J.J. Arrington on Wednesday, and adding quarterback Chris Simms, who presumably will be no more than Jay Cutler's backup, the Broncos increased their newcomer free-agent freight to 12 players.

    "They have to be by far the most aggressive team I've ever seen in free agency," said agent J.R. Rickert, who negotiated new deals for Arrington and running back Correll Buckhalter with the Broncos.

    And the Broncos' new football operations team of coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Brian Xanders may not be finished signing free agents, now that salary cap room was cleared after the Houston Texans decided to match Denver's three-year offer to restricted free-agent wide receiver David Anderson.

    The Broncos also have nine picks in the April 25-26 draft, and they have been trying to trade Tony Scheffler, whose "receiving" tight end position gives way to a third receiver in the "New England" offensive system McDaniels is installing.

    McDaniels had been the Patriots' offensive coordinator the past three years, coaching among others new Broncos Jordan, wide receiver Jabar Gaffney and long snapper Lonie Paxton.

    "I'm loving the direction," Gaffney said. "We're bringing in the veteran guys and trying to win. And trying to win this season."

    One deal the Broncos hope to not make regards Cutler. He will meet with McDaniels next week, the team announced Tuesday.

    According to a source close to Cutler, the quarterback is not upset because McDaniels tried to trade him last week to Tampa Bay in a three-team deal that would have brought quarterback Matt Cassel to Denver. He's upset because he doesn't believe McDaniels' claim the trade proposal was initiated by other clubs.

    What's the difference? When other teams seek Cutler, it means he's wanted. If the Broncos try to trade him, it means Cutler is unwanted.

    With the quarterback controversy put to the side, the Broncos have gone about rebuilding a new team. Simms appears to be part of the fallback plan his two-year, $6 million contract is substantial given he hasn't taken a meaningful snap in nearly three seasons.

    The Broncos' 12 notable newcomers are six defensive starters (safeties Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill, cornerback Andre' Goodman, tackle Ron Fields, inside linebacker Andra Davis and Darrell Reid, a tackle the Broncos plan to covert to outside linebacker), five offensive players (Simms, Gaffney, Buckhalter, Jordan and Arrington) and one special-teams player (Paxton).

    Since McDaniels was hired to succeed Mike Shanahan as Denver's coach, there has been considerable discussion about the "Patriot Way." By definition, the Patriot Way is about hard-nosed, selfless players other teams often consider too old (Rodney Harrison and Junior Seau) or untalented (Wes Welker). Together, these players buy into the Patriots' system and gain recognition through team success.

    The Broncos in turn have added aging players (Dawkins and Davis) and several "second-tier" players. The $39.52 million the Broncos have allocated in bonus guarantees and 2009 salaries to their 12 newcomers is less than the $41 million the Washington Redskins guaranteed to one player, defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.

    "That was definitely one of the greatest things preached around the Patriots is team," Gaffney said. "You can't have a whole bunch of individuals; you have to have a team to have a shot. And that's what Josh is going to have around here."

    Mike Klis: 303-954-1055 or mklis@denverpost.com

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