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Move-it-or-lose-it approach

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Shanahan's wheeling is bad dealing

Are the Denver Broncos taking a page from the Oakland Raiders? Raiders managing general partner Al Davis has long been a believer in the rehabilitation of high draft choices gone bad, but the Broncos have not tended to go in that direction -- until this offseason.

The Broncos' struggles in pass defense have cost them dearly the last few years, and coach Mike Shanahan believes much of that has been the result of a failure to pressure the quarterback. So in the last few weeks, he has imported the defensive line of the Browns, which helped them win four games in Cleveland last year. Shanahan traded a fourth-round pick for former No. 1 choice Gerard Warren, signed the No. 1 overall draft choice in 2000, Courtney Brown, and then swapped the AFC's No. 6 rusher, Reuben Droughns, for ex-No. 1 choice Ebenezer Ekuban, with Michael Myers being a throw-in.

That might look like doing something -- until you look at what those four have produced in the NFL, which is not much. New Browns coach Romeo Crennel knows a thing or two about defense, and he couldn't get those guys out of town fast enough, and general manager Phil Savage managed to extort a runner who rushed for 1,240 yards and averaged 4.5 yards a carry last year in his first season as a starter. Go figure.

One man's wallet more full than another's

Sometimes agent moves make you wonder.

Only hours after the free agency period began March 2, Boston-based agent Kristen Kuliga filed a contract with the NFL Players Association that bound fullback Patrick Pass to New England for the next two years. In exchange for not venturing even a toe into the free agent market, Pass received the minimum salary allowed in the league for both 2005 and '06 ($540,000 and $545,000) with no noted incentives, according to the contract on file, plus a $150,000 signing bonus.

This for a man who served as the starting fullback and an occasional running back on the Super Bowl champions. The contract might not have been all that noteworthy except when compared with the deal for a player playing the same position with the same years of service but even less offensive production, Houston's Moran Norris.

Norris was, like Pass, a four-year veteran who became a free agent, but he and agent Rick E. Smith took at least a day to shop around before accepting a three-year deal from the Texans to be their blocking back. That contract contained the minimum salary for 2005, but a raise to $660,000 in '06 and to $700,000 in '07. That left him $115,000 over the minimum in the second year and $30,000 over it in 2007, but the real difference was that Norris's deal also included a $600,000 signing bonus.   Continued...

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