The Broncos and GM John Elway have been negotiating a long-term extension, and Woody Paige of the Colorado Springs Gazette reports a deal could be finalized as soon as next week.
Paige notes said agreement should be announced publicly at training camp when the Broncos report on July 27. The longtime Broncos writer adds that Elway is in line to become the league’s highest-paid GM.
“We’re working to get it done,” Broncos CEO and president Joe Ellis told The Gazette, noting the negotiations — ones that began in October — resumed July 4. “We’ve had some productive discussions in the last week or so and will keep talking. John’s an important part of our organization, and we want to make sure he’s here for a long time.”
This is the latest we’ve heard about an Elway deal. Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post reported earlier this week the sides have engaged in dialogue recently and no discord exists between them despite Elway entering a contract year after what’s been an incredibly successful tenure.
The seventh-year exec and the Broncos “still have work to do” before this is finalized, per Troy Renck of Denver7 (on Twitter). Jhabvala (via Twitter) adds no deal is imminent at this point. So, a slight discrepancy exists regarding how far these talks have advanced. Paige, though, reports the Broncos haven’t delayed the talks, noting the franchise considers keeping Elway a “principal priority.” The hiring of a new coaching staff played a part in these talks having been delayed.
The 57-year-old GM’s contract expires in March, per Paige. Should Elway’s salary indeed be the largest for a pure GM, it would have to exceed the $3.75MM per year that Ozzie Newsome (Ravens) and John Schneider (Seahawks) earn.
These negotiations are different than they otherwise would be. Longtime owner Pat Bowlen being stricken with Alzheimer’s leaves Ellis as the top presence in place on the other side of these discussions. Before Bowlen brought Elway back after the 2010 season, he offered the Hall of Fame quarterback the chance to acquire a stake in the franchise or an executive position, per Paige, but not both. Elway chose the exec job, and the Broncos’ fortunes changed soon after.
Elway’s returned to the organization coincided with the team mounting five straight playoff runs — two that concluded with Super Bowl berths. Denver has booked seven of its eight Super Bowls with Elway involved (five as a player, two as GM), and the Broncos’ three titles came with Elway in the fold. The Broncos have not had a losing season since Elway took over as GM and have won five of six AFC West championships in that span.
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