John Elway

Broncos Working To Sign John Elway To Extension

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Mixon, Jets, Elway, Bell

Speaking with Sirius XM on Thursday, head coach Marvin Lewis delved into the Bengals’ decision to select controversial running back Joe Mixon with the 48th pick in the draft (via Conor Orr of NFL.com). The ex-Oklahoma Sooner was caught on video striking a woman back in 2014, which caused some teams to remove him from their draft boards. Not the Bengals, though, and Lewis explained that “a lot of time” and “a lot of research” went into picking Mixon. “Time spent with Joe. Time researching people around Joe. Joe’s past in East Bay [California],” he continued. “All those kinds of things that way. His past on campus at Oklahoma since the incident. So, there couldn’t be any other red flags to say, ‘Well, well, maybe…’ No, no, no. It had to be clean, and Joe knows that. He knows going forward, it has to stay clean all the time. He’s lived on the tip of the sword for three years now, and he’s got to continue to probably for the rest of his life.” If Mixon can avoid further off-field troubles, Lewis expects him to succeed in the pros, in part because “he’s off the charts talent-wise” and “as smart as a whip.”

More from the AFC:

  • In an interview with “Boomer & Carton” of WFAN on Thursday, Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall indicated that he requested his release from the rebuilding Jets in March because they’re not going anywhere in 2017 (via Brian Costello of the New York Post). “For me, I just knew I couldn’t be in that environment,” said Marshall, who holds the unfortunate distinction of being the league’s current longest-tenured player without a postseason appearance (11 years). “I think everyone knows the type of personality I am at this point in my career. I wouldn’t have made it through an entire season knowing that we didn’t have a chance. That’s all you want as a player — you just want a chance.” Long after they cut ties with Marshall, the Jets released fellow veterans Eric Decker and David Harris in June. Marshall took exception with the timing in both cases, arguing that “it was too late in free agency” and calling the Jets’ maneuverings with Decker and Harris “bad business.” Harris’ agents made it known after his release that they were unhappy with the Jets, but the 10-year veteran did end up latching on with the reigning Super Bowl champion Patriots just over two weeks later.
  • Toward the end of May, Broncos general manager John Elway expressed confidence that he would sign a contract extension by the start of the season. No agreement has come to fruition in the month and a half since, but the Broncos and the contract-year executive “have maintained dialogue recently,” reports Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. Given that there’s no deal yet for Elway, the assumption is that discord or tension exists between the two sides, writes Jhabvala, but a team source shot down that notion.
  • The Steelers should not sign franchise-tagged running back Le’Veon Bell to a long-term deal by Monday’s deadline, opines Paul Zeise of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Running backs have short shelf lives, contends Zeise, who points out that the 25-year-old Bell has already accumulated 1,135 touches (908 rushes, 227 receptions) during his four seasons in the league. Adding to the risk, the league has suspended Bell twice, meaning he might not be trustworthy enough to extend. In Zeise’s estimation, then, what the Steelers should do is allow Bell to play the season under the $12.12MM tag and, if he fares well, tag him again for roughly $14.5MM in 2018. The Steelers could then let Bell walk when he’s exiting his prime. (For more on Bell, check out Zach Links’ piece from earlier this week.)

AFC Notes: Broncos, Steelers, Browns, Colts

Broncos general manager John Elway is entering a contract year, but the franchise icon expects to sign an extension by the start of the season, reports Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter links). “Yep. I don’t think there will be any doubt,” said Elway, who added that he has no interest in leaving Denver. After thriving as the Broncos’ quarterback from 1983-1998, a stretch in which he won two Super Bowls and made nine Pro Bowls, the Hall of Famer’s success has continued with the organization away from the field. Since Elway took over as the Broncos’ GM five years ago, the club has gone 59-31 with four playoff appearances and another Super Bowl title.

More from the AFC:

  • Speaking with reporters (including Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) on Tuesday, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was unwilling to say whether he plans to continue his career beyond the upcoming season. “I never commit to anyone more than one year,” stated the 35-year-old Roethlisberger, who indicated that he did seriously consider retiring after last season. “Did you think I was lying?” he said.
  • One of Roethlisberger’s teammates, wide receiver Martavis Bryant, realizes his career is hanging in the balance as a result of the two suspensions he has incurred in three years (via Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today). “I know it’s my last chance,” acknowledged Bryant, who’s back after missing all of last season on account of a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. The 25-year-old doesn’t expect any more off-field slip-ups going forward. Regarding the past year, Bryant stated: “I developed better habits. I changed who I hang around. I’ve become a family man. I just had a son, he’s seven weeks. It’s really me developing my life and getting back on track.”
  • Speaking of troubled receivers, the chances of Josh Gordon ever playing for the Browns again are slim to none, Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland opines (on Twitter). The suspended Gordon, whom the NFL denied reinstatement two weeks ago, can reapply in the fall.
  • The Colts still aren’t sure when safety Clayton Geathers will return from the season-ending neck injury he suffered last December, writes Kevin Bowen of the team’s website. Geathers, who underwent surgery on a bulging disc in March, started in all nine of his appearances as a second-year player in 2016. If Geathers is healthy during the upcoming season, he should be in line to start alongside free safety Malik Hooker, the Colts’ first-round pick. Otherwise, that role could go to T.J. Green.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

AFC Notes: Broncos, Browns, Raiders, Fins

Broncos general manager John Elway issued an update Wednesday regarding the status of impending free agent linebacker DeMarcus Ware, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. “I haven’t talked to DeMarcus,” Elway said “He’s been around, but I haven’t had a chance to sit down with DeMarcus, so as we get through this and get back to Denver, I’m sure I’ll sit down with DeMarcus and we’ll talk about it.”

On the other hand, rookie head coach Vance Joseph has talked to the future Hall of Fame pass rusher “four or five” times over the past couple months. The soon-to-be 35-year-old Ware has made it no secret that he’d like to return to Denver for a fourth season, but his previous employer, the Cowboys, could pursue him if he reaches free agency. Between Dallas and Denver, Ware has amassed 138.5 sacks in 12 years. Four of those sacks came last season for Ware, who appeared in a career-low 10 games on account of back and forearm injuries.

Elway, meanwhile, could become a free agent executive after next season. It doesn’t look as if that will happen, however, as contract extension talks between Elway and the Broncos “going fine,” the Hall of Fame quarterback said (via Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post). “I don’t anticipate any problems,” he added. The 56-year-old Elway has been resoundingly successful as an executive, having helped the Broncos to a 67-29 record, five playoff berths, two AFC championships and a Super Bowl in six seasons in their front office.

More from three other AFC cities:

  • Speaking to reporters in January, Browns head coach Hue Jackson didn’t dismiss the possibility of trading the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. GM Sashi Brown backed up Jackson on Wednesday, saying (via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com): “We’re going to responsibly listen to any opportunities that are out there. I think we have to do that. It’s not a design of ours. We would have to wait and see what might come, and what player might be available there as we get through this process.”
  • Looking to keep the Raiders in Oakland, the Ronnie Lott-led Fortress Investment Group has submitted a formal stadium plan to the NFL within the past 10 days, reports the Associated Press. However, it’s “not moving the needle much,” according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. Even after losing financial backing from businessman Sheldon Adelson and Goldman Sachs, the Raiders are eyeing Las Vegas relocation, though two owners told Cole they’re concerned with the amount of debt the franchise would take on in such a scenario (Twitter links).
  • Despite suffering what could have been a career-threatening neck injury last year, Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi expects to be ready for next season, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Cutting Misi would save the Dolphins $4.2MM against just $578K in dead money in 2017, but they haven’t ruled out retaining him, notes Jackson.
  • Jackson also has further details on defensive end Cameron Wake‘s two-year, $19MM contract with the Dolphins. Wake will get a renegotiated signing bonus of $1MM in 2017 and a $125K workout bonus in each season.

Broncos To Discuss Extension With John Elway

The Broncos are expected to resume contract talks with general manager John Elway soon, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post, who notes that Elway is entering the final season of his contract. Now that Denver has revamped its coaching staff, the club will now turn its attention to the front office.John Elway (Vertical)

[RELATED: Top Three Offseason Needs — Denver Broncos]

“I’ll start to have discussions with his representatives and I know he’ll want to move that along and I’m confident that we’ll be able to get a deal done and keep him here for a long time,” Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis said. “As it should be.”

Elway, 56, took over as Denver’s vice of president of football operations in 2011, and was named general manager in 2014, when he signed a three-year extension with the club. Elway’s run with the Broncos can’t be considered anything other than a tremendous success, as he’s kept the club competitive while cycling through head coaches, quarterbacks, and schemes. Denver has posted a 67-29 under Elway’s leadership, and won the Super Bowl in 2016.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Broncos Coaching Staff

The Broncos coaching staff looks a whole lot different than it did 48 hours ago. On Wednesday, the organization announced that they had hired former Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph as their new head coach. Last night saw two more changes. Former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips joined the Rams while the Broncos were finalizing a deal with new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

Defensive backs coach Joe Woods is considered the favorite to be promoted to the defensive coordinator position, although he still has some competition for the gig. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports (via Twitter) that the Broncos will also be interviewing Reggie Herring for the opening. Herring spent the past two seasons as the team’s linebackers coach, and he handled some defensive play-calling duties earlier this season. Herring has also served as the linebackers coach for the Texans, Cowboys, and Bears.

As we wrap our head around all of these coaching moves, let’s take a look at some additional changes in Denver…

  • While McCoy seems to be in the driver’s seat for the offensive coordinator gig, Cameron Wolfe of The Denver Post notes (via Twitter) that the organization still plans on interviewing Bill Musgrave today. The long-time coach spent the past two seasons as the Raiders offensive coordinator.
  • The Broncos have parted ways with tight ends coach Brian Pariani, according to Troy Renck of ABC Denver7 (via Twitter). Meanwhile, Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post reports that offensive line coach Clancy Barone also won’t be back. Finally, Klis reports (via Twitter) that Joseph notified special teams assistant Tony Coaxum and offensive line assistant Jim Cregg that they also wouldn’t be retained for next season.
  • Joseph acknowledged that Phillips is “one of [his] football dads,” but he also admitted that Woods was “ready to be a coordinator,” as ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold passes along (via Twitter). Wolfe tweets that the Broncos loved Phillips, but the organization saw higher potential in Woods.
  • Jason La Canfora tweets that general manager John Elway was in favor of changes to the Broncos coaching staff even if former head coach Gary Kubiak stuck around. Klis adds (via Twitter) that Joseph wanted “sweeping changes” when it came to his new staff.

AFC West Notes: Shanahan, Raiders, Chargers

Kyle Shanahan followed Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub in conducting a four-hour interview with Broncos brass, John Elway relays (on Twitter). While the Falcons’ OC will continue on the interview circuit — having already interviewed or being set to do so with the Jaguars, 49ers and Rams — he remains focused on landing this job. And past tensions between the organization and his father won’t stand in the way, Mike Klis of 9News tweets.

Klis notes Elway and Mike Shanahan are friends, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports Broncos president Joe Ellis won’t stand in the way if Elway wants to hire the 37-year-old son of the franchise’s winningest head coach. Ellis was with the Broncos when they made the decision to fire the elder Shanahan after 14 seasons following the 2008 campaign. Elway worked with Mike Shanahan during the successful coach’s three stints in Denver — the first two coming as the team’s top offensive assistant in a four-year 1980s stay and again for two seasons in the early ’90s — before returning to take a leadership position with the franchise two years after it fired Shanahan.

The Broncos are set to meet with Vance Joseph sometime after Sunday’s Dolphins-Steelers wild-card game.

Here’s the latest coming out of the AFC West as the Raiders are set to play in their first playoff game in 14 years.

  • The Raiders will present details of their Las Vegas project on Wednesday at a meeting involving the NFL’s finance and stadium committees, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports (on Twitter), adding (Twitter link) the team will not apply for relocation until its playoff run concludes. Underdogs with their third-string quarterback at the helm against the Texans today, that decision could come soon. Last we heard, the sides had made significant progress on the long-discussed Las Vegas stadium after some hiccups between the Raiders and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson emerged.
  • Donald Penn said he sustained a small fracture in his knee but doesn’t need surgery, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Penn also eyes a return for a divisional-round game if the Raiders win today, per Schefter. The Pro Bowl left tackle will miss the first game of his career and his first opportunity to suit up for a playoff contest since his rookie season with the Buccaneers in 2007. Menelik Watson will slide over and start on the left side, with the previously supplanted Austin Howard returning to his right tackle spot.
  • Wade Phillips has been connected to the Browns’ DC job after his Broncos contract expired, and while it hasn’t been ruled out the veteran DC could return to Denver, the Raiders are another name to watch for the 69-year-old assistant’s services, Pelissero tweets. This is an indication second-year Raiders DC Ken Norton Jr. could be on the hot seat after his unit, one fortified by the additions of Bruce Irvin and Sean Smith in the offseason, finished 26th in total defense for the second straight season. Phillips’ Broncos finished as the top DVOA defense for the second straight year.
  • The Chargers will bring Panthers DC Sean McDermott in for a second interview, Eric Williams of ESPN.com reports. He initially sat down with Bolts brass on Friday. Patriots DC Matt Patricia will meet with the team next.

John Elway Addresses Brock Osweiler Situation

After orchestrating the strangest quarterback succession plan for a defending Super Bowl champion in NFL history, John Elway has observed the Broncos get off to their fourth straight 2-0 start. However, the player he attempted to re-sign before the bidding escalated out of his comfort zone struggled in his first big audition with the Texans.

Brock Osweiler‘s second start against the Patriots came in a 27-0 New England victory Thursday night, and Elway, albeit in a lighthearted tone, addressed the events of this spring that led to Osweiler venturing to Houston and 2015 third-stringer Trevor Siemian eventually ascending to the Broncos’ starting job.

A lot of times those deals you don’t make are the best ones,” Elway told Dave Logan and Susie Wargin of KOA radio on Friday (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk).

Obviously it was a tough night for Houston last night and — but things move on. You try to make the best decision when you have to make it. . . . Excluding last night, we really felt good with the way everything’s fallen, the way we went into camp, and we’re really excited with the guys who are playing the position for us now.”

As Florio points out, Elway’s initial response came with a lighthearted tone, but this is not the first time the sixth-year Broncos decision-maker opened up on the Osweiler situation.

In August, Elway pointed to Osweiler’s perceived slight when the eventual Super Bowl champions benched him for Peyton Manning in Week 17 of last year. That comment came four months after Elway initially addressed the 25-year-old quarterback’s defection in March.

The Broncos reportedly offered Osweiler $64MM before he signed the four-year, $72MM deal with the Texans but are now paying rookie-deal prices to their top two quarterbacks. The benching for Manning may well have induced Osweiler to seek a path elsewhere, so the Broncos might not have been battling on equal footing as they attempted to keep their former second-round pick in free agency. It’s marked an interesting situation for both teams, who each started 2-0 with victories over a 2015 playoff team.

Osweiler completed 24-of-41 passes for 196 yards and an interception against the Jacoby Brissett-led Patriots. For the season, the 6-foot-7 passer has completed 60% of his throws (231.7 yards per game) and has thrown three touchdown passes and four INTs. Operating a more ground-based attack, Siemian’s at 68% with 222 yards per game and one TD pass and three INTs.

Osweiler’s exit helped free up funds for the Broncos to re-up potential 2017 free agents Brandon Marshall and Emmanuel Sanders this summer, and while it’s not a given Siemian and Paxton Lynch will be a better investment yet, Denver has benefited from not having a franchise-quarterback salary on its payroll for the first time since 2011.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Miller, Elway, Chiefs

Von Miller‘s agent Joby Branion has been particularly busy recently. Today, he appeared on PFT Live to discuss his client’s extension negotiations with the Broncos. In particular, the agent talked about John Elway‘s tactics during these contract talks.

“He’s just extremely competitive,” Branion said (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com). “I can say that the negotiation approach that he and his team uses is a bit unorthodox and unconventional but you can’t argue with the effectiveness and we don’t know unless we’re in their room what their ultimate goals are. So it’s always after the fact you sort of look and say, ‘Well that didn’t look like that worked out well,’ or ‘Geez, that worked out great.’ Only they really know but, yeah, they’re a little different but, hey, there are a lot of people that use a lot of different approaches to negotiate.”

Let’s take a look at some other notes out of the AFC West…

  • Branion also told Florio that Miller would have been willing to sit out the 2016 season and leave the Broncos the following offseason. “Absolutely, no question,” Branion said. “You know, a lot of people think it’s bluster and all that and sometimes it is, in this case no. It wouldn’t have made any sense. I told him, ‘Look, I treat you like you’re my own son,’ and if in fact this were my son I’d have to tell him you can’t afford to play for the franchise tag, not given your overall value. I mean, he’s a guy that deserves to be in the 19, 20, 21 million dollars a year range and his tag number is only 14. So it would make no sense at all for him to play for one year for [$14 million], risk potentially getting hurt and then be in a position where the team would be able to exclusive tag him yet again next year. Which I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t do because then the number would still be so far below his value whereas if he had restricted free agency even, as he likely would have in March, he would have made up the difference.”
  • ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano explored what kind of contract Miller would have received if the franchise tag didn’t exist. If the linebacker had inked the contract during the 2015 season, the writer estimated that the contract would have come in around $17MM annually (somewhere between Justin Houston and Ndamukong Suh). If Miller had waited until after the season, he may have approached Suh’s money, and if the 27-year-old had reached the open market, he could have expected a contract that paid at least $22MM a season.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com takes a look at the Chiefs negotiations with safety Eric Berry. The writer believes the veteran’s $10.8MM franchise tag is right around fair value, although Berry is certainly taking a risk by not inking a long-term contract.

Broncos Notes: QBs, Defense, Elway

Broncos defensive tackle Sylvester Williams offered some insight into the team’s three-man quarterback derby Tuesday, telling SiriusXM NFL Radio, “I think [Mark Sanchez] has to go out there and lose the job” (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today). Sanchez, 29, is the elder statesman of a troika that also includes 2015 seventh-round selection Trevor Siemian and first-round rookie Paxton Lynch. While Sanchez was previously at the helm of two defensively brilliant Jets teams that went to AFC title games, the 2009 fifth overall pick from USC hasn’t had much personal success in the NFL. It’s worth noting, though, that the Broncos’ dominant defense led them to a Super Bowl title last season in spite of subpar quarterback play.

More notes on the reigning champions:

  • Although Sanchez looks like the favorite to win the No. 1 job, the seven-year veteran’s history suggests it would be a mistake for the Broncos to award him the role, argues Adam Schein of NFL.com. Given that Sanchez is known for wilting in the spotlight, as Schein writes, Denver’s best hope is for Lynch to grab the reins and take advantage of the excellent receiver duo of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
  • Safety T.J. Ward believes the Broncos’ defense can improve on its output from last year and go down as a legendary unit. “We can become the best defense of all time. That’s what we’re working toward,” he said Monday (via Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post). Last year’s Broncos ‘D’ is arguably among the premier groups ever, having led the league in total defense, pass defense and sacks before steamrolling its three playoff opponents. Of that defense, general manager John Elway told John Clayton of ESPN.com in February that “it’s the best I’ve ever seen with the way they play and with the speed they play.” The squad has incurred a couple serious losses since then, however, with lineman Malik Jackson and linebacker Danny Trevathan taking bigger paydays elsewhere in free agency.
  • Elway’s reign as an executive is beginning to rival his Hall of Fame playing tenure, contends Mike Klis of 9News. The Elway-led Broncos have accumulated 64 victories, the second-highest total in the league, in his five years as the GM, and have won a Super Bowl, two conference championships and five straight AFC West titles. Among Elway’s best work in the front office, offers Klis: Convincing Canton-bound veterans Peyton Manning and DeMarcus Ware to accept pay cuts; re-signing Pro Bowlers Von Miller, Thomas, Chris Harris Jr., C.J. Anderson, Ryan Clady, Champ Bailey and Matt Prater (the latter three of whom are now retired or elsewhere); and serving as the league’s only GM to pick up a Pro Bowler through the draft (Miller and Julius Thomas), street free agency (Manning, Ware and Willis McGahee), unrestricted free agency (Ward, Aqib Talib and Louis Vasquez) and undrafted free agency (Harris and Anderson) over the past half-decade.