ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos have tendered three of their most prominent restricted free agents, the team announced Tuesday.
Denver placed second-round tenders on wide receiver Tim Patrick and linebacker Alexander Johnson and a right-of-first-refusal tender on running back Phillip Lindsay.
Other NFL teams may still offer these three players contracts, but the Broncos would be given the chance to respond to any offer sheet. If Denver chose not to match another team's offer to Patrick or Johnson, the Broncos would receive a second-round pick as compensation. The Broncos are also able to match any offer that Lindsay may receive from another team, but Denver would not receive compensation if they choose not to match that offer. Other teams have until mid-April to extend an offer sheet to any tendered restricted free agents across the league.
Denver also tendered exclusive rights free agents Diontae Spencer, Trey Marshall and Calvin Anderson.
Denver's decision to use the tender essentially ensures the three players will remain under contract with the Broncos through 2021. Exclusive rights free agents are not permitted to negotiate with other teams. Spencer, Marshall and Anderson must still sign the tender in order to play this coming season.
Patrick and Johnson both held full-time starting roles for the team in 2020. Patrick joined the Broncos' practice squad in 2017 and has steadily increased his role, leading the Broncos with six receiving touchdowns in 2020. He caught 51 passes for 742 yards in 15 games as he blew past his previous career highs. Patrick had just 39 total catches and 533 total receiving yards in his career prior to 2020. Johnson, a two-year starter at inside linebacker, led the team in tackles in 2020 as he posted 124 takedowns. He also recorded a sack, two passes defensed, two forced fumbles, four tackles for loss and five quarterback hits.
Lindsay, who in 2018 became the first offensive undrafted rookie to make the Pro Bowl, made eight starts in 2020 but saw his rushing totals dip in 2020 as he shared time with Melvin Gordon III. Lindsay totaled 502 yards and one touchdown on 118 carries in 11 games as he battled injuries.
Spencer, a Pro Bowl alternate in 2019, also held a prominent role last year for Denver. He spent the last two seasons with the Broncos as the team's return specialist after a stint in the Canadian Football League. He appeared in 11 games in 2020 and averaged 15.8 yards per punt return. Spencer was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after his 83-yard punt-return touchdown in the team's win over Carolina. He was the first Bronco to return a kick for a score since 2015. Spencer also caught three passes for 26 yards in limited appearances on offense.
Marshall and Anderson, meanwhile, were both depth players for Denver. Marshall, a fourth-year player, appeared in 12 games for the Broncos in 2020 as a reserve safety. He has appeared in 30 games, all with Denver, during his career. Marshall largely served as a special teams contributor in 2020. Anderson, who appeared in 16 games for the Broncos in 2020, made two starts at tackle last season. He started in Week 10 against the Raiders at right tackle before filling in at left tackle in Week 13 for Garett Bolles. Anderson otherwise served as a special teams contributor.