ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- With the free-agent signing period beginning next Tuesday at 2 p.m. MDT, the Broncos issued contract tenders to running back Lance Ball, punter Britton Colquitt and offensive tackle Chris Clark.
All three were given qualifying offers at the right-of-first-refusal level. That means the Broncos will have one week to match any contract offer each of the three might receive during the signing period, which lasts from March 12 until April 19.
Unlike unrestricted free agents, whose agents can be contacted by teams beginning Friday night at 10 p.m. MST, restricted free agents cannot begin discussions or negotiations with other teams until the signing period begins March 12.
The Broncos also issued contract tenders to defensive tackle Mitch Unrein and cornerback Tony Carter. They are exclusive-rights free agents, because they have expiring contracts but two years or less of accrued service in the league..
A tender was not issued to fullback Chris Gronkowski, a three-year veteran. The team's decision makes Gronkowski an unrestricted free agent.