“It Pays to Win-Then You Pay Up”
Oh to be John Elway these days, the General Manager and VP of Football Operations of the Denver Broncos.
When last seen, he was raising the Super Bowl-Lombardi Trophy, amidst the Orange and Blue tinsel floating thru the air, his quarterback Peyton Manning on one side of him, coach Gary Kubiak on the other.
Oh to be John Elway today, facing the NFL salary cap, and this time likely to take some type of quarterback sack.
He committed 15M dollars of his salary cap yesterday afternoon, franchise tagging LB-Von Miller, not having been able to work out a salary cap friendly deal with a signing bonus. By tagging him at 15M-base salary, every contract discussion from this morning on with Miller, will revolve around ‘he got 15M in 2016, so we negotiate from that level up.” Ouch.
The Broncos now have an issue with their bright young defensive tackle Malik Jackson, who had a monster Super Bowl on top of a very good regular season. His pricetag would have gone up to about 10M for next year based on performance. He’s asking 14M, for a salary, and that does not include signing bonus money on a multi-year deal. Look what Miami gave Ndomakong Suh (23M) per year, and Jackson seems a better player. Ouch.
Unresolved too is the dollar value attached to QB-Brock Osweiler, who came off the bench and helped win four games the back half of the season, after Peyton Manning was shelved with that foot injury. Denver might not have gotten to the Super Bowl without the late season wins from Osweiler, but the NFL defensive coordinators did catch up with him late in the year. He wound up getting benched.
But Osweiler knows what’s going on around him. The Redskins just gave Kirk Cousins the 20M franchise tag yesterday, and he has had just one good season of football and has never won a playoff game. Sam Bradford just got 18M a year on a two year deal to stay with the Eagles, and no one compares him with the elite in the league, even ahead of Philip Rivers 17M a season San Diego deal.
So here’s Osweiler, with 4-key starts on his resume, asking for 10-to-15M per year and with a signing bonus on top of that. Ouch.
And Elway must deal with the 9M-contract of left tackle Ryan Clady, who has now missed two years in a row with 2-knee injuries, and the 10.4M-deal owed DE-DeMarcus Ware-who has back issues and was hurt last year and has lots of miles on those tires.
And if Elway doesn’t have enough on his plate, there’s the extra serving of the Peyton Manning story, heading towards age 39, with the surgery history, lack of arm strength, and a 19M-guarantee due next season, if there is a next season.
Elway must decide by next Monday, stay or leave for the future Hall of Famer. And it’s complicated, because now Manning’s super-agent, Tom Condon says his client wants to play next year.
Oh to be John Elway right now. Denver spent lots in free agency two years ago, but now has contracts coming due next week with big money dollar signs attached to them.
In the NFL it pays to win, but then you have to pay up when you do win. It will be fun to watch how Denver’s dollars are spent beginning next week.