How the Denver Broncos can get John Elway locked in long-term
The Broncos and specifically CEO Joe Ellis need to first and foremost make sure that the contract Elway is offered makes him the highest paid executive/coach in all of football.
Not just the NFL — all of football.
Forbes reported as of 2016 that it was somewhere around $7.5 million. That would seem like Belichick is taking about a 50 percent discount on what he’s probably worth a year, if not more. That’s another story for another day…
Nick Saban, the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide football program, is making over $11 million in 2017.
Nobody knows exactly how much money other top executives like Ted Thompson or Ozzie Newsome make on an annual basis, but it seems as though no one makes as much annually right now as Saban, so that could be a starting point for this negotiation.
If I were the Broncos, I would offer Elway a five-year contract worth $12 million annually — fully guaranteed — with an opt-out after every individual year if Elway wants it.
This would give Elway the option to pursue other opportunities if he would so choose, or it would make him easily the highest paid non-athlete in all of football for the foreseeable future. It also allows the Broncos to invest heavily in Elway now and into the future without making promises (of ownership) they can’t keep.
If they intend at some point to let Elway in on the ownership of the team, then do whatever it takes to keep him around for the time being. Those numbers might seem ridiculous and over the top, but that might be the only thing that keeps Elway in town at this point.
Having the opt-out clause after every season is strictly for Elway’s benefit, but obviously if he opts out, he’s opting out of a guaranteed $12 million.
I’m sure there are holes in my proposal, and I realize that it would put the Broncos in a tough spot as far as not necessarily knowing year after year whether or not Elway will be there, but they at least have to make it tough for him to say no.
Next: Broncos receivers want quick QB competition
I think this type of proposal would do exactly that. Both the Broncos and Elway have expressed interest in remaining together for the long-term, but Elway is not content to just stay where he is. He wants to accomplish everything there is to accomplish in the NFL, and prove he can win a Super Bowl as a player, executive, and owner of the same franchise.