DENVER - His paycheck may look like Peyton Manning's tip money. Still, there's at least one area where Manning and his newest Broncos teammate, defensive back Quentin Jammer, aren't nearly so far apart.
"When you're forced to, you have decisions to make," Jammer said Thursday, his first day of practice with his new team. "The next decision that you have to make is you have three to four more years left in you. What are you going to do with your life? I want to win a championship. I think Denver gives me that opportunity."
After spending his first 11 seasons without a title in San Diego, Jammer signed a one-year deal worth around the veteran minimum to join Manning, Champ Bailey and the Broncos, who are assembling veteran pieces to make a run at the Super Bowl.
Jammer played safety back in his college days at Texas, but after picking him fifth in the 2002 draft, the Chargers moved him to cornerback, where he started 161 games over his 11 years.
After making Jammer the third ex-Charger they've signed in free agency this year, the Broncos touted the veteran's flexibility in the defensive backfield. They plan to try him at safety. Time will tell whether he'll compete for a starting spot with Rahim Moore, he of the infamous Joe Flacco touchdown debacle, or simply add depth to Denver's defensive backfield. The Broncos sometimes use up to four safeties in obvious pass situations.
"At the end of the day, you're trying to create competition and that's why you make moves in the offseason," coach John Fox said. "It's never the same faces from year to year. We'll try to improve our football team by making it more competitive and that makes us more competitive on game day."
Jammer, at 6-foot, 205 pounds, also has shown he can cover tight ends and other big receivers — an area the Broncos struggled with last season.
"I think I'm that type of player, where I can come in, I can cover (tight ends), I can cover wide receivers, I can pretty much cover anybody on the field," Jammer said. "I've been doing it for 11 years. Why stop now?"
In Denver, at least, Jammer's decision to sign with the Broncos stands in contrast to that of another defensive back, Charles Woodson, who visited the Broncos but decided on a more lucrative offer from the Raiders, who are not considered Super Bowl contenders.
Jammer didn't have a problem with his salary, which is about $19 million less than Manning will make this season, but for that money, he wanted a chance at a ring.
"I didn't want to go anywhere where I couldn't compete to have a chance to win a championship," Jammer said.
In the first meeting between the Broncos and Chargers last year, Jammer returned an interception off Manning for a touchdown.
Manning was, of course, ready for the obligatory questions about that play. Mostly, though, he said he was glad to see the Broncos add yet another seasoned veteran to a team that has signed receiver Wes Welker, offensive lineman Louis Vasquez, pass rusher Shaun Phillips and a handful more this offseason.
"He is a veteran corner. He's seen it all," Manning said.
Notes: First-round draft pick DT Sylvester Williams was involved in a minor scrap with OLs Zane Beadles and Manny Ramirez during the team's non-contact, non-pads practice Thursday. ... Fox said TE Joel Dreessen had a minor procedure on his knee and will miss the rest of offseason workouts. ... Manning said he's spending extra time with second-round draft pick, RB Montee Ball, anticipating Ball will be thrown into the mix early. RB Willis McGahee is still a no-show at these voluntary workouts. Asked about that, Manning said: "Whether there is a business decision being made on Willis' part on his side or on the Broncos' side, that is kind of to be determined. I'll say this: Willis was a great help to me last year."