The Denver Broncos never really had a choice. Whatever John Elway wanted to remain with the team, that’s what they had to pay.
Yet, contract negotiations dragged on longer than expected, to the point it started to make some Broncos fans nervous. It got done though, as Elway and the team agreed on Monday to a five-year deal that will run through 2021 according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. The team announced the news Monday afternoon. Schefter said it’s expected to make Elway the highest paid general manager in the NFL.
Whether Elway is the best GM in football is debatable, but he’s very good at his job and nobody is more strongly identified with an NFL team than Elway is with the Broncos. That was true when Elway retired in 1999, after two straight Super Bowl titles. Somehow, Elway’s stature in Colorado got even bigger the past few years.
When Elway was hired to run the Broncos’ front office, it was just as Josh McDaniels was shown the door. It looked like a public-relations move to appease a fan base that reached a low point with the many, many missteps McDaniels made. No great quarterback has ever been a great coach or general manager. But Elway did it.
When Elway landed Peyton Manning in free agency, it changed the franchise. In Manning’s four seasons, the Broncos won the AFC West four times, went to the Super Bowl twice and won Super Bowl 50. It wasn’t just adding Manning; Elway built a fantastic and deep roster with an aggressive approach to free agency. You can’t tell the story of Denver’s 1997, 1998 or 2015 Super Bowl championships without Elway being a focal point. Elway’s front office career will never eclipse his playing career, but he’s not bad at running a team either.
Now Broncos fans don’t have to worry about Elway going anywhere, not that he was ever going to leave. It’s impossible to imagine Elway with any other team.
– – – – – – –