The Broncos have been one of the best teams in the NFL since John Elway has been in charge of building the roster.
With marquee signings such as Manning, DeMarcus, Ware, Aqib Talib, among others, it’s easy to overlook the masterful job Elway has done crafting the rest of the roster. He has found bargain after bargain that have come in and made huge impacts on the team.
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That’s why it’s nice to see Elway and company get some recognition among the national media. In this grantland piece, Bill Barnwell selects the all-bargain team in the NFL. It is comprised of players who are not on their original NFL contract, essentially, players who were up for grabs by anybody in the league at one point.
The Denver Broncos have 4 selections, while no other team has more than 2.
The 4 players who made the cut were: Emmanuel Sanders (3 yr – $15 million), Louis Vasquez (4 yr – $23.5 million), Terrance Knighton (2 yr – $4.5 million) and Brandon Marshall (1 yr – $495,000).
Sep 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (98) reacts during the second half against the against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
All 4 of these players are major contributors to the team and were signed for a lot less than market value based on their production.
It’s a testament to the team-building job Elway and the front office have done.
Reflecting back on Elway’s tenure thus far, it’s quite impressive the amount of talent he’s been able to bring to the Mile High City. They have excelled in all phases of team building.
They have been able to lure the big-name superstar free agents, chiefly among them Peyton Manning and the others listed above.
They have drafted as well as could be expected. In 2011 they drafted Von Miller, Orlando Franklin, Rahim Moore, Julius Thomas, Quinton Carter and Nate Irving. In 2012 they drafted Derek Wolfe, Brock Osweiller, Ronnie Hillman, Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan. In 2013 they drafted Sylvester Williams, Montee Ball, Kayvon Webster and Quanterus Smith, and it’s a little early to see what the 2014 class will bring, but Bradley Roby looks like an incredible steal at the end of the first round.
Signing big name free agents and drafting well will give you fantastic head start, but it all doesn’t work unless you can find quality bargain players to fill out the rest of your roster, and this is perhaps where Elway excels the most.
Bringing in players for under market value like Terrance Knighton, Brandon Marshall, Emmanuel Sanders, Louis Vasquez, TJ Ward, Chris Harris and CJ Anderson, among others, is what makes you a great team.
Elway has been able to do this time and time again, and it’s the reason the Broncos are not only built to win now, but for a long time.