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Sports

March 20, 2014

Patriots, Broncos still going head-to-head in offseason

(Continued)

The Broncos lost wide receiver Eric Decker to the New York Jets but they signed Sanders, a speedy wide receiver formerly with the Pittsburgh Steelers, to a three-year, $15 million pact.

After losing Brady’s top target to the Broncos last year, the Patriots were in danger of losing Brady’s favorite receiver again this spring but wide receiver Julian Edelman re-signed with New England on Tuesday after testing the free agent market.

Edelman, who caught a career-high 105 passes with six touchdowns last season, signed a deal reportedly worth $17 million over four years two days after the Patriots added wide receiver Brandon LaFell, who became a free agent after catching 49 passes in his fourth NFL season, all with the Panthers.

Elway’s primary focus was rebuilding his defense.

With the release of Champ Bailey saving the Broncos $10 million and the retirement of Chris Kuper giving them another $4.1 million savings, Elway had lots of financial flexibility and he signed:

Ward for four years and $22.5 million to play strong safety with Rahim Moore returning to free safety.

Talib for $57 million over six years to play cornerback opposite Chris Harris Jr., who’s coming off knee surgery.

And Ware for $30 million over three years to rush the passer and mentor Von Miller and Quanterus Smith.

Talib was injured in the AFC championship game when he took a hard hit from Welker on a pick play at the line of scrimmage. (The Patriots called it a hip injury but Talib says now it was a thigh injury and insists he’s 100 percent.)

Of Denver’s four additions, only Ware is north of 30 years old.

“That goes to show you that’s not for now. We want young football players that are going to be here for a long time, who are still young in their career and are still going to get better,” Elway said.

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