Broncos rather silent in free agency so far

By Pat Graham

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, March 14 2012 5:26 p.m. MDT

An electronic billboard is displayed over a sports memorabilia store in north Denver on Saturday, March 10, 2012, urging fans to vote for either Peyton Manning or Tim Tebow to be quarterback of the Denver Broncos. Manning was visiting the Broncos on Friday as he searches for a new team after being released by the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday.

David Zalubowski, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

DENVER — The Denver Broncos have been rather silent so far in free agency as they wait on word from Peyton Manning.

With needs to fill and money to spend — approximately $40 million of cap space — they've pretty much taken a wait-and-see approach as their top prize weighs his options.

The competition for Manning has only intensified in recent days as Arizona, Miami and Tennessee have all expressed interest in the only four-time NFL MVP in league history. Manning spent Wednesday in meetings with Titans executives.

And while other teams are making moves to bolster their rosters, the Broncos are biding their time.

The secondary could be an area of concentration for the Broncos, especially with perennial Pro Bowler Brian Dawkins —an unrestricted free agent — on the fence about whether he may return to the field for a 17th season or call it a career. The 38-year-old Dawkins missed most of the last month and both of Denver's playoff games with a neck injury.

Without Dawkins, the Broncos are lean on experience at safety. They may bring in a veteran presence to mentor young safeties Quinton Carter and Rahim Moore, who both saw significant action as rookies last season.

On the docket for a visit is defensive back Mike Adams, who sent out a tweet saying as much. Adams had three interceptions and a forced fumble for the Cleveland Browns last season. Safety Brandon Meriweather could be on Denver's wish list as well, since he reportedly visited the team this week.

Meriweather was with the Chicago Bears last season, but was benched in October after making four starts. He also played four years with the New England Patriots, where he was a two-time Pro Bowler and had 12 interceptions.

Although free agency is still in the early stages, the Broncos have yet to make a splashy entrance.

But that could change in a hurry.

At the top of their wish list is, of course, Manning.

Once the Indianapolis Colts decided to sever ties with Manning last week rather than pay a $28 million bonus that was due, the Broncos quickly stepped in and rolled out the red carpet. He was flown in on a chartered plane and met with Broncos vice president of football operations and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, along with coach John Fox, for nearly six hours last Friday.

Should the Broncos land Manning, it could open the floodgates for even more free agents, since others are sure to follow No. 18 to the Mile High City.

To date, the Broncos' biggest offseason move was placing the franchise tag on kicker Matt Prater, who was a clutch performer down the stretch in 2011 with four game-winning field goals.

Prater had three straight weeks in which he kicked the winner on the game's final play, helping Tim Tebow and the Broncos go on a six-game winning streak that propelled them into the playoffs for the first time in six seasons.

Reach out to AP Sports Writer Pat Graham on Twitter: http://twitter.com/pgraham34

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