Evidenced in 2014 “Free Agency Frenzy,” Denver Broncos executive John Elway understands business of spending money on key free agents before the market.
John Elway’s greatness as executive potentially started as an owner of the Colorado Crush, an original Arena Football team located in Denver. It has trickled down to the city’s favorite football team: the Denver Broncos. Sometimes it can be difficult to sign impending free agents before they hit the market for 31 other teams to vie for their services.
Three of the current Broncos defense experienced such treatment from Elway. The first was Chris Harris. Do not let his small stature fool you; Harris is a physical cornerback not afraid to help in the run game. Harris had quite the teacher in Champ Bailey before the Hall of Famer retired. There are similarities in Harris’ game to Bailey. Versatility is only difference. Neutralizing a slot receiver makes him a top-5 cornerback in the NFL. Harris signed his extension in 2014 calling it the greatest decision he ever made.
Second of Elway’s before end of season moves is Derek Wolfe. Wolfe’s presence in the defense is next to none. He is a force upfront to replace Malik Jackson that hunts quarterbacks like a wolf, but we already established the importance of him on the roster. Wolfe signed contract extension with the Broncos for four-years and 36-million. It was a great first two months of 2016 for Wolfe: a contract extension to Super Bowl champion. In case you forgot, here is another video of the DEFWU leader.
Much like Wolfe, Darian Stewart is the other underrated player of the Broncos defense. Stewart quickly turned into a top-5 safety under Wade Phillips. Originally, Stewart was a roamer at safety, but the Broncos now see a multi-versed player to hit hard and intercept passes thrown his way. Elway realized the potential and future of Stewart. The Broncos executive signed him to a contract extension mid-season.
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Understandably, we can throw Emmanuel Sanders in this conversation as well. The wide receiver signed an extension one day before the opening day game against the Carolina Panthers. Sanders is a versatile wide receiver that plays the slot, but mostly as 1a or 1b target for the Broncos quarterbacks. His toughness goes unmatched. There could be an argument Sanders is the toughest wide receiver since the great wide receiver Ed McCaffrey ran routes in mid 90s. Elway recognized the importance of Sanders inking him to a three-year deal.
Furthermore, it’s possible Elway makes these contracts because he does not want the impending free agents to hit the market. The signings of Chris Harris/Derek Wolfe/Darian Stewart/Emmanuel Sanders proves Elway will do anything to keep Super Bowl 50 winning team in tact.