Broncos' blueprint: Another free agency run

AP - Sports

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -- John Elway's philosophy is to address immediate needs in free agency, even though some of his own veterans may prove too pricey to keep around.

Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno both said they'd love to stay in Denver, but they might find more lucrative offers elsewhere when free agency begins in a month.

Unlike the Seattle Seahawks, who throttled the Broncos in the Super Bowl, Denver has a high-priced quarterback who takes up a good chunk of the salary cap, limiting what the team can spend elsewhere.

Manning's salary cap charge for 2014 is $17.5 million, same as last season, which was more than Seattle's entire starting defense and about 25 times as much as Russell Wilson's $681,000 cap number.

''Yeah, but I'll tell you right now it's worth it for us to have Peyton Manning,'' Elway said. ''That's just part of when you get a quality quarterback like that that we have in Peyton Manning. You know that's going to be a big chunk of your salary cap, but we got to figure out ways to find the right players.''

At the right prices.

Elway said he has no problem continuing to build a team around Manning even though nobody knows how long No. 18 will be in the Broncos' huddle beyond next season.

''Well, we're going to keep building like Peyton is going to be here,'' Elway said. ''And you know, when Peyton decides to hang 'em up, we have expectations hopefully to make that transition.''

Manning confirmed during Super Bowl week that he intends to play next season, pending clearance from his doctor at his annual checkup next month to see if his surgically repaired neck is sound, which seems like a formality given the way he played last season when he won his fifth MVP award.

Manning and the Broncos are out to do something that no team has done since the Buffalo Bills in 1993 - make it back to the Super Bowl the year after losing it.

Elway, the team's executive vice president, had been busy on a blueprint long before the Super Bowl blowout. He knows he could lose Decker, Moreno and guard Zane Beadles on offense and he has to rebuild a defense that was obliterated by an injury epidemic.

The Broncos have 18 unrestricted and three restricted free agents, but Elway has to be prudent because big deals are looming next year for Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas and maybe Von Miller.

He's hit the jackpot in free agency two years in a row, first with Manning in 2012 and then with Wes Welker, Louis Vasquez, Shaun Phillips, Terrance Knighton and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie last year.

Elway expects to be busy again this year. He has about $25 million in projected cap space right now but could free up more by asking Champ Bailey and Jacob Tamme to restructure their contracts and by releasing Chris Kuper and Joel Dreessen.

Elway said using free agency to address immediate needs gives the Broncos freedom in the draft.

''We don't have to sit there and reach for some guy because of a need. So, if we can get rid of really the absolute needs that we need to do in free agency, then that opens it up, we can fire free at the draft, take the best players,'' he said.

If Moreno leaves, the Broncos have Montee Ball ready to step in as the featured back. He came on strong down the stretch, finishing the season with 120 carries for 561 yards and four touchdowns. Nearly a third of his carries moved the sticks, ranking third in the league and tops among rookies. His pass protection also vastly improved.

''We have high expectations out of Montee,'' Elway said. ''We'll see how things flush out with Knowshon.''

Decker, who has 32 TD catches over the last three years, would be missed. But Manning has plenty of other targets and teammate Bubba Caldwell, another unrestricted free agent, could prove a cheaper alternative.

''This is an organization any player wants to come to,'' Decker said. ''They treat you first class, it's a winning organization. They've built a culture that's phenomenal. I would love to play here and unfortunately it isn't something that's always in my control.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/arniestapleton

View Comments
  • Quiros, Dyson share lead at China Open

    Quiros, Dyson share lead at China Open

    Alvaro Quiros and Simon Dyson each shot a 5-under 67 to share the lead after the first round of the China Open on Thursday. The pair were a stroke ahead of a group of six golfers that included defending champion Brett Rumford of Australia and … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 minutes 50 seconds ago
  • Dyson enjoys happy return to China, shares lead with Quiros

    Dyson enjoys happy return to China, shares lead with Quiros

    (Reuters) - Englishman Simon Dyson, who was handed a suspended two-month ban for cheating in December, fired a five-under-par 67 to grab a share of the first round lead at the European Tour's China Open on Thursday. The Englishman fired six birdies … More »

    Reuters - 10 minutes ago
  • Formula One boss denies bribery at German trial

    Formula One boss denies bribery at German trial

    By Keith Weir MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone denied bribery allegations on Thursday when he went on trial in Germany in a case that threatens to break the Briton's decades-long dominance of the motor … More »

    Reuters - 13 minutes ago
  • Golf-Dyson enjoys happy return to China, shares lead with Quiros

    Englishman Simon Dyson, who was handed a suspended two-month ban for cheating in December, fired a five-under-par 67 to grab a share of the first round lead at the European Tour's China Open on Thursday. The Englishman fired six birdies and a lone … More »

    Reuters - 13 minutes ago
  • Ajax extend ban on fans travelling to Feyenoord games

    (Reuters) - Ajax Amsterdam have extended the ban on their fans attending away league games against arch-rivals Feyenoord in Rotterdam following the riotous behaviour of supporters in Sunday's Dutch Cup final. It ends hopes that a five-year … More »

    Reuters - 14 minutes ago
  • Postgame: Dirk Nowitzki

    Postgame: Dirk Nowitzki

    Dirk Nowitzki addresses the media following the Game 2 win over the Spurs. … More »

    NBA.com - 18 minutes ago
  • F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges

    F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges

    Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone rejected accusations of bribery as he went on trial Thursday in a case that could threaten his grip on the sport, telling a Munich court that he was blackmailed by a German banker who received a disputed $44 … More »

    AP - Sports - 26 minutes ago
  • F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges, says he was blackmailed as trial opens

    F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges, says he was blackmailed as trial opens

    MUNICH - Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone rejected accusations of bribery as he went on trial Thursday in a case that could threaten his grip on the sport, telling a Munich court that he was blackmailed by a German banker who received a disputed … More »

    The Canadian Press - 27 minutes ago
  • Hanyu determined to build on success of Sochi

    Hanyu determined to build on success of Sochi

    Yuzuru Hanyu has barely had time to dwell on the Olympic and world titles he won in the first quarter of 2014, yet he's already thinking about how to improve for next season. Hanyu became the first Japanese man to claim Olympic gold in figure … More »

    AP - Sports - 36 minutes ago
  • More teams withdraw, Nepal's Everest season in jeopardy

    By Gopal Sharma KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Several foreign climbing expeditions have called off attempts to scale Everest following an avalanche that killed at least 13 local guides, meaning Nepal faces an entire season without a single ascent of the … More »

    Reuters - 39 minutes ago
  • No clubs facing FFP European expulsion - Platini

    No clubs facing FFP European expulsion - Platini

    No clubs can expect to be expelled from European competition next season for breaking financial fair play rules, UEFA president Michel Platini said in an interview on Thursday. UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) policy, designed to stop clubs … More »

    Reuters - 43 minutes ago
  • No clubs facing European expulsion - Platini

    No clubs facing European expulsion - Platini

    PARIS (Reuters) - No clubs will be kicked out of European competition next season for breaking financial fair play rules, UEFA president Michel Platini said in an interview on Thursday. UEFA's financial fair play (FFP) policy, designed to stop clubs … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 26 minutes ago
  • Fast-breaking Real home in on elusive 10th European crown

    Fast-breaking Real home in on elusive 10th European crown

    By Tim Hanlon BARCELONA (Reuters) - Real Madrid took a step closer to an elusive 10th European Cup with a 1-0 home win over Bayern Munich on Wednesday and the Spanish side will hope to finish off the job in Germany having shown how effective they … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 5 minutes ago
  • Schalke aiming to seal Champions League spot

    By Karolos Grohmann REUTERS - Schalke 04's season could have a happy ending at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach on Sunday when they hope to claim a Champions League spot after a rollercoaster campaign punctuated by injury problems. Schalke, who … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 16 minutes ago
  • Sturridge hopeful of returning against Chelsea

    Sturridge hopeful of returning against Chelsea

    REUTERS - Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is optimistic of returning from injury for the key clash against former team mates and title rivals Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday in a boost for the Premier League leaders. "Hopefully this weekend I'll be … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 33 minutes ago
  • Confident Bayern promise home improvements against Real

    Confident Bayern promise home improvements against Real

    Holders Bayern Munich promised a sharp improvement when they host Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final after failing to convert the lion's share of possession into goals in a 1-0 defeat in Spain on Wednesday. Bayern … More »

    Reuters - 3 hours ago
  • Formula One boss Ecclestone's bribery trial begins in Munich

    Formula One boss Ecclestone's bribery trial begins in Munich

    By Keith Weir MUNICH Germany (Reuters) - Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone said he remained confident as he went on trial on Thursday for bribery in Germany in a case that could end the Briton's decades-long dominance of the motor … More »

    Reuters - 3 hours ago
  • Be optimistic about Brazil, says Blatter

    Be optimistic about Brazil, says Blatter

    By Stefanie McIntyre HONG KONG (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter has encouraged fans to be optimistic that the World Cup in Brazil will be a success, amid growing concerns over security and public unrest as workers scramble to finish stadiums … More »

    Reuters - 3 hours ago
  • Announcer relishes role as voice of Kentucky Derby

    Announcer relishes role as voice of Kentucky Derby

    From his perch with a panoramic view of the world's most famous racetrack, the new voice of Churchill Downs will sit out one of the most anticipated moments of the tradition-soaked Kentucky Derby. Larry Collmus will try to tune out ''My Old … More »

    AP - Sports - 3 hours ago
  • Confident Bayern promise home improvements against Real Madrid

    Confident Bayern promise home improvements against Real Madrid

    By Karolos Grohmann REUTERS - Holders Bayern Munich promised a sharp improvement when they host Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final after failing to convert the lion's share of possession into goals in a 1-0 defeat in … More »

    Reuters - 3 hours ago
  • Wednesday's Sports In Brief

    BOSTON (AP) -- Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected for using pine tar less than two weeks after appearing to get away with using a foreign substance in another game against Boston, and the Red Sox beat New York 5-1 on Wednesday night. … More »

    AP - Sports - 3 hours ago
  • Pineda says he'll learn from ejection for pine tar

    Pineda says he'll learn from ejection for pine tar

    The pine tar glistened on Michael Pineda's neck, improving his grip and inviting trouble. The Yankees' right-hander spoke quietly after being ejected in the second inning of the Red Sox' 5-1 win over New York on Wednesday night. And less than two … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 hours ago
  • Flyers lack punch at home on power play

    Flyers lack punch at home on power play

    Back on their home ice, the Philadelphia Flyers fizzled on the power play. The Flyers ranked 25th in the NHL in power-play efficiency at home during the regular season, scoring on 15.1 percent of their chances. In Tuesday's 4-1 loss to the New … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 hours ago
  • Detroit Lions welcome new faces

    Detroit Lions welcome new faces

    Their new coach has been to Super Bowls and the Detroit Lions how have two new players who have championship rings. Free-agent acquisitions Golden Tate and James Ihedigbo - who played on the winning side of the last two Super Bowls - finished their … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 hours ago
  • Iowa's offense looking to match strong defense

    Iowa's offense looking to match strong defense

    Iowa's defense was back among the nation's elite last season. The Hawkeyes' offense failed to follow suit. Getting both units to play at an equally high level will likely be crucial to Iowa's hopes of competing for a Big Ten West title. The … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 hours ago
  • Mike Trout robs Bryce Harper with impressive diving catch

    Mike Trout robs Bryce Harper with impressive diving catch

    One phenom robs another. … More »

    Big League Stew - 4 hours ago
  • Stars even with Ducks after 4-2 win in Game 4

    Stars even with Ducks after 4-2 win in Game 4

    The young Dallas Stars keep overcoming early 2-0 deficits. With their latest comeback in Game 4, they are now even with the top-seeded Anaheim Ducks. Down in the series after losing the first two games in Anaheim, the Stars trailed by two goals in … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 hours ago
  • Jets returning to SUNY Cortland for training camp

    The New York Jets are holding training camp at SUNY Cortland again this summer, returning to central New York for the fifth time in the last six years. The team trains on the school's campus, located about three hours from the Jets' facility in … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 hours ago
  • Road teams off to flying start in NBA playoffs

    Road teams off to flying start in NBA playoffs

    Here's the list of teams that had home-court advantage entering the opening round of these NBA playoffs: Indiana, Miami, Toronto, Chicago, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Houston and the Los Angeles Clippers. Here's the list of teams that still held … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 hours ago
  • Michael Phelps launches comeback in 100 butterfly

    Michael Phelps launches comeback in 100 butterfly

    Returning to swimming after a 20-month retirement, Michael Phelps is easing back into the sport he once dominated by racing one of his best events. The 18-time Olympic gold medalist will swim the 100-meter butterfly at the Arena Grand Prix on … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 hours ago
  • Your Top Plays for Today

    Your Top Plays for Today

    Your Top Plays for Today: AP's Sports Guide … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 hours ago
  • The Grand Slam: Mariners snap eight-game losing skid on Kyle Seager’s walk-off homer

    The Grand Slam: Mariners snap eight-game losing skid on Kyle Seager’s walk-off homer

    Kyle Seager and the Mariners bust their slumps in Seattle. … More »

    Big League Stew - 4 hours ago
  • As pitching injuries pile up, Cole Hamels' return gives Phillies shot in the arm

    As pitching injuries pile up, Cole Hamels' return gives Phillies shot in the arm

    With pitchers succumbing one by one to major arm injuries, Philadelphia is thankful Cole Hamels appears healed. … More »

    Yahoo Sports - 5 hours ago
  • Historic canonization of two popes brings joy and controversy

    Historic canonization of two popes brings joy and controversy

    By Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Two giants of Roman Catholicism in the 20th century will become saints on Sunday at an unprecedented twin canonization that has aroused both joy and controversy in the 1.2 billion member Church. Pope … More »

    Reuters - 5 hours ago
  • Historic canonisation of two popes brings joy and controversy

    Historic canonisation of two popes brings joy and controversy

    By Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Two giants of Roman Catholicism in the 20th century will become saints on Sunday at an unprecedented twin canonisation that has aroused both joy and controversy in the 1.2 billion member Church. Pope … More »

    Reuters - 5 hours ago
  • LaMarcus Aldridge has huge Game 2 against Rockets, joins elite NBA company

    LaMarcus Aldridge has huge Game 2 against Rockets, joins elite NBA company

    The Portland Trail Blazers power forward had another incredible night against Houston that put him among the game's greats. That and more on today's Yahoo Sports Minute with Angela Sun - the show that brings you the must-see moments in sports every … More »

    Yahoo Sports Videos - 5 hours ago
  • Aldridge has 43, Blazers 2-0 vs. Rockets

    Aldridge has 43, Blazers 2-0 vs. Rockets

    LaMarcus Aldridge's son JJ, who turned 5 on Wednesday, texted him after the Portland Trail Blazers' playoff win and told him he looked like Spider-Man on one of his dunks. To the Houston Rockets the Portland star probably looked like a superhero on … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 hours ago
  • Hamels loses to Greinke in season debut

    Hamels loses to Greinke in season debut

    Zack Greinke is in midseason form. Cole Hamels is just starting his season. Greinke outpitched Hamels with seven strong innings, Hanley Ramirez homered and Yasiel Puig drove in two runs for the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 5-2 victory over the … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 hours ago
  • Kane scores in OT, 'Hawks tie Blues at 2

    Kane scores in OT, 'Hawks tie Blues at 2

    Patrick Kane had his shot all along. What Kane got back on Wednesday night was his legs, and the result was a familiar one. Kane scored his second goal of the game at 11:17 of overtime, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 to even … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 hours ago
  • Patrick Kane scores in OT, Chicago Blackhawks beat St. Louis Blues 4-3 to even series

    Patrick Kane scores in OT, Chicago Blackhawks beat St. Louis Blues 4-3 to even series

    CHICAGO - Patrick Kane had his shot all along. What Kane got back on Wednesday night was his legs, and the result was a familiar one. Kane scored his second goal of the game at 11:17 of overtime, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues … More »

    The Canadian Press - 5 hours ago