Broncos’ general manager John Elway has invigorated the team since winning the battle for Peyton Manning two years ago. He quickly created a roster that dominated the AFC en route to a Super Bowl appearance. Despite the disappointing performance in the big game, Elway is focused on bringing back some of the team’s top talent in order to make another run at a championship.
Mike Klis of the Denver Post writes that the team has shown a willingness to spend under the leadership of Elway. Presumably, the entire organization understands that there is urgency to bring a Super Bowl trophy to Denver now, with Manning under center. That only gives them two or three more seasons to realistically contend as currently constructed. However, a willingness to spend doesn’t necessarily equal an improved roster due to the amount the team has already spent and their situation in regard to the salary cap.
While the team is expected to have enough cap room to maneuver this offseason, Elway did say that he believes Manning would be willing to restructure his deal if the team needed some extra flexibility. “I think we’ll be fine,” Elway said. “I don’t think (Manning) would have any problem, if we needed to find some cap room, that he wouldn’t help us out.”
Klis writes that Elway and head coach John Fox will begin discussing a contract extension. Retaining the head coach is thought to be a top priority. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has already received a two-year contract extension after optimizing a defense that was without its best player, Von Miller, for almost all of the season, due to suspension and injury. Del Rio also filled in admirably during Fox’s absence when his health forced him to miss games in the middle of the season.
Another urgent matter for Elway is the status of Champ Bailey‘s contract. He is scheduled to make $10MM in 2014, but due to his advanced age and declining ability it is unlikely the team would be willing to bring him back at that number. He will most likely be cut or take a pay cut to stay with the team.
As for the current Broncos about to hit free agency, Elway said the team would allow them to hit the market. While he would like to bring back many of the team’s own talent, Elway knows with some of their other key players requiring new contracts after next season that they cannot commit all of their future cap space to this season’s group of free agents.
He does note that the team wants Decker back, and that Decker expressed interest in returning as well. Even still, it could be difficult for the team to match an offer in the open market.