spjets Posted March 10, 2005 Share Posted March 10, 2005 Thursday, March 10, 2005 Denver Matches Jets' Offer to Putzier; Leach Returning By Andrew Mason DenverBroncos.com ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Broncos had seven days to match the New York Jets' offer for Jeb Putzier. They only took six. The team officially matched the offer sheet for Putzier Thursday, returning the fourth-year tight end to Denver. Putzier was efficient last year. He ranked 12th among AFC tight ends with 36 receptions, but was fourth in yardage, amassing 572 yards for an average of 15.9 yards per reception. That average was first in the AFC among tight ends, just 0.2 yards shy of the league-best 16.1-yards-per-catch pace set by Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowler Alge Crumpler. No other NFL tight end averaged more than 12.3 yards per catch last season. It was also the best per-catch average by a Broncos tight end since Riley Odoms' 16.0-yards-per-reception pace in 1979, and the third-best all-time by a Denver tight end. The 2004 season was a breakthrough for Putzier, a college wide receiver whom the Broncos developed gradually in 2002 and 2003. The Broncos deactivated him in 25 of the 32 games in those seasons, and he did not make a regular-season reception until the final game of 2003. Had the Broncos chosen to pass, they would have received a sixth-round draft pick as compensation -- equivalent to the round in which the Broncos drafted the Boise State product three years ago. Putzier is the only Broncos restricted free agent to receive a formal offer so far this year in free agency. LEACH RETURNING: The Broncos also announced a deal with tight end/ long snapper Mike Leach. The sixth-year player will return for his fourth season in Denver. In addition to his tight end duties, Leach also served a key special teams role as Denver's long snapper in punting situations. He played in every game last season and contributed three special teams tackles for the club and one more in Denver's AFC Wild Card loss at Indianapolis. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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