ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -The Denver Broncos found a surprising trade partner to unload defensive tackle Gerard Warren - the rival Oakland Raiders.
The Broncos shipped Warren to the Raiders on Monday for an undisclosed 2008 draft pick.
Just one year ago, Warren was deemed the Broncos' best defensive linemen as evidenced by the six-year, $36 million contract he signed before injuries to both big toes led to an unproductive 2006 season.
This year, he didn't fit in the system put in place by the new defensive boss Jim Bates, which requires large interior linemen who hold the point of attack rather than penetrate.
Warren (6-foot-4, 325 pounds) is a seventh-year pro who spent the past two seasons in Denver after he was acquired in a trade with Cleveland in 2005. The Browns made him the third overall pick in the 2001 draft out of Florida.
Warren had 51 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks last season and never regained his strength and stamina after a toe injury in training camp hobbled him all year.
The Broncos left him behind when they opened the exhibition season at San Francisco and again when they spent a week in Dallas practicing with the Cowboys before their preseason game Saturday night.
There was some speculation, however, that the Broncos might ditch their plan to trade or release him after the defense played so poorly in San Francisco and Dallas, where starting defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban was lost for the season with a torn Achilles' tendon.
Washington and Indianapolis were interested in Warren but might have been hoping for his release so they could negotiate their own deal and not compensate the Broncos.
Warren, who cemented his nickname ``Big Money'' with his contract extension last summer, actually earned about $6.5 million of that $36 million deal. He received $2 million from the Broncos this year in roster and workout bonuses. His salary for the upcoming season is a little less than $600,000.
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