Denver Broncos have had a busy offseason that has included coaching changes and the stark reality that Peyton Manning will likely never be the same quarterback again.
An offseason of change, such as the arrival of Gary Kubiak as head coach, means a different style of play. Kubiak will adopt a more balanced approach on the offensive side of the ball than that of his predecessor John Fox.
Fox allowed quarterback Peyton Manning to take complete control to run a pass-heavy unit which almost won a Super Bowl. However, Kubiak will likely adopt a more run-heavy offense in 2015, with running back C.J. Anderson set to have a breakout year.
The Broncos are also looking to strengthen their defense in order to loosen the pressure on Manning and his offense to perform. That was the main reason Denver chose to select linebacker Shane Ray in the 2015 NFL Draft in April, a selection they confirmed today by signing the rookie to a four-year, $9 million deal.
"Shane Ray had an eventful day on Monday. First he participated in practice, the first physical reps he's gotten as he recovers from a foot injury, and then he signed his rookie contract," the Denver Broncos revealed on their official website.
Ray's contract includes a signing bonus of $5 million, and his presence at the Broncos' facility for on-field individual drills was very welcome.
Recovering from injury
The linebacker has been out injured due to a turf toe issue, with the practice on Monday being his first action in five months.
Denver picked up Ray in the first round of the draft with what many considered a steal, after selecting him 23rd overall. Draft experts had expected the Missouri star to be picked higher, but a citation for marijuana possession pre-draft put paid to those plans.
Ray is now past that setback and the Broncos will be hoping he does his talking on the field from now on.