Broncos sign RBs; Dawkins to visit

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The Broncos are moving fast in free agency but it's not on the defensive side of the ball. Yet.

The team has agreed to four-year contracts with running backs J.J. Arrington and Correll Buckhalter. Denver has also agreed to a five-year deal with former New England long-snapper Lonie Paxton.

Paxton signed a $5.3 million deal, making him the second-highest paid long-snapper in the league. This spells the end for steady Mike Leach, who was a staple in the Mike Shanahan era.

The fast signings show two things of the new Josh McDaniels era in Denver. First, he loves his offense.

With gaping holes on the defensive side of the ball, McDaniels first addressed the offense. It also says he is staying with his Patriots roots. In addition to Paxton, Denver has interest in receiver Jabar Gaffney and defensive tackle Mike Wright of New England.

Buckhalter, 30, could be Denver's starting running back but expect Ryan Torain and Peyton Hillis to get a chance to play as well, if they can stay healthy. Arrington will be a third-down back and a returner.

Denver has been very active setting up visits in the early stages of free agency. Most of the players the team is pursuing are bargain-priced players.

However, that could change. The NFL Network is reporting Philadelphia safety Brian Dawkins is on his way for a visit to Denver and the Baltimore Sun is reporting that linebacker Ray Lewis could be on Denver's radar.

Both Dawkins and Lewis would fit in Denver if the team wants to spend. The Broncos have needs at both spots and both players would give a needed dose of leadership to a young defense that is searching for an identity. Also, Lewis played for new Denver defensive coordinator Mike Nolan in Baltimore.

Will Dawkins or Lewis end up in Denver? We know the Broncos are willing to spend. Now, let's see how much.