Football Three more picks done deals


Bench Warmer
By Mike Klis
The Denver Post

A pittance to some draft picks is riches worth hoarding to another.

Of the three draft choices who reached four-year agreements Tuesday with the Broncos, sixth-round pick Spencer Larsen, a linebacker, received the smallest signing bonus at around $97,500. Running back Ryan Torain, the Broncos' first fifth-round choice, received a signing bonus for a tad less than $200,000. Defensive tackle Carlton Powell, the team's second fifth-round pick, received a bonus slightly north of $180,000.

Rookie offensive tackle Ryan Clady could sneeze away $97,500 by the time the Broncos enter serious negotiations with their first-round pick for an estimated $11 million in guarantees. But for a player such as Larsen, who is used to playing for free in college while taking care of his wife and son, $97,500 will go a long way.

Or nowhere at all.

"We don't have any big needs, so we'll just save it," Larsen said. "It's more money than we've ever been around."

The Broncos are expected to announce their signings today provided they receive clearance from the NFL office. The team has signed four of its nine draft picks as Torain, Powell and Larsen join seventh-round safety Josh Barrett, who received a $56,000 bonus last month.

The Broncos also are hoping to reach a four-year agreement by week's end with seventh-round fullback Peyton Hillis.

Negotiations with Clady, second-round wide receiver Eddie Royal, fourth-round center Kory Lichtensteiger and fourth-round cornerback Jack Williams likely will extend until the week before training camp, which begins July 25.

"The Broncos are being extremely fair in the way they're doing this," said Jack Scharf, who represents Torain.

For Larsen, his career is finally gaining momentum after a start that was both unusual and frustrating. An inside linebacker from Arizona, Larsen's first two weeks as a professional were spent as a fullback. But on the first day of the Broncos' passing camp, Larsen popped a hamstring. He returned to linebacker for the team camp in early June.

For training camp, Larsen will be wearing No. 54, meaning the team will first look at him at his natural middle linebacker position, where he will back up veterans Niko Koutouvides and Nate Webster.

"Fullback was fun," Larsen said. "I think it was kind of an experimental thing. I hadn't done it since high school. But for me, the more I can do for the team, the better."