It had been 10 years since the Broncos used the franchise tag. When they did, they repeated their move from a decade ago, keeping their kicker in place.
The decision to franchise K Matt Prater on March 5 was a virtual no-brainer. Although his 76.0 percent field-goal accuracy in 2011 was the lowest since 2008, his first full season in Denver, he provided game-ending, game-winning field goals in half of the Broncos' eight 2011 wins.
After starting 2011 hitting 5-of-8 field goals, Prater made 14 of his next 17 attempts, beginning with a 52-yard overtime decider in Miami on Oct. 23. That began a 7-1 run during that included three game-winning overtime kicks and a game-tying 59-yard field goal against Chicago on Dec. 11.
Said executive vice president John Elway: "This gives us the ability to continue working on a long-term agreement."
That's what happened 10 years ago when they franchised K Jason Elam. Eleven months later, the Broncos reached a five-year deal with Elam, who played out that contract before signing with the Atlanta Falcons in 2008. Elam was replaced by Prater.
--A jury in Castle Rock, Colo., acquitted Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox of sexual-assault charges on March 2.
Cox, a 2010 fifth-round pick of the Broncos who was cut at the end of the 2011 preseason, was on trial for two counts of sexual assault in connection with an alleged September 2010 incident.
The five-day trial was pockmarked with uncomfortable and often graphic testimony. Cox did not testify in his own defense.
Douglas County (Colo.) prosecutors said that DNA tests showed that Cox had impregnated his accuser in the alleged assault, but the jury did not find enough evidence to convict him.
"As part of the jury, we said, 'absolutely, beyond a reasonable doubt,' that we believe ... there was sex involved at some point," jury foreman Mitch Summerfield told KUSA-Ch. 9 in Denver. "When that was and what condition she (the accuser) was in at that time -- there was no evidence presented."
Cox is expected to return to the NFL, but not to the Broncos. That would be a problematic notion given that wide receiver Demaryius Thomas testified as a prosecution witness against Cox during the trial. Thomas and cornerback Cassius Vaughn were with Cox the night of the alleged incident.
-- The downside of quarterback Tim Tebow's choice of offseason coaches and workout venues was easy access for Hollywood-based paparazzi and gossip, who chronicled his evening dinner plans and reputed conversations with entertainment moguls with aplomb.
Tebow had to turn to his Twitter feed this week to deny rumors that he would be the protagonist on an upcoming season of "The Bachelor," the long-running ABC reality series.
"Rumors can be crazy! Even though I've watched the show before, I'm definitely not gonna be on The Bachelor," Tebow tweeted.
Tebow spent February in Los Angeles working with UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. Because the new collective bargaining agreement limits offseason workout days and organized team activities, the Broncos won't convene for organized workouts until April 16.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I think people are feeding into me getting rid of my agent for all the wrong reason ... I don't understand how you can write a article about a person without confirming if it's true about him/her." -- RB Willis McGahee, reacting on Twitter to a report that he was unhappy with his contract and wanted to renegotiate it. McGahee has three years left on a four-year, $9.5-million deal.
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