3. DeMarcus Ware, OLB
Contract: Three years, $30 million
During 2014 free agency, the Broncos set out to pair Von Miller with an elite edge player.
They had expressed interest in unrestricted free agents like Everson Griffen of the Minnesota Vikings, Michael Johnson of the Cincinnati Bengals, and even future Hall of Famer Jared Allen.
In fact, the Broncos were reportedly pretty close to signing Allen before Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys decided to part ways with another future Hall of Famer, DeMarcus Ware.
John Elway immediately changed course and that decision would affect the Denver Broncos forever.
The Broncos and Ware quickly agreed to a three-year, $30 million contract and Ware paired with Von Miller to give the Broncos the best duo of edge rushers in the NFL for three seasons.
Ware’s performance in the 2015 postseason will go down as one of the best by an edge player ever, though it was somewhat overshadowed by Miller’s Super Bowl MVP level play.
Ware notched 25 total sacks with the Broncos including the playoffs but was dominant off the edge in more ways than just sack stats.
His speed off the edge didn’t go away, but injuries forced Ware into early retirement. He got a ring in Denver and didn’t ride anyone’s coattails to get it. Ware was a force for the Broncos, and a mentor that Von Miller desperately needed after his suspension-shortened 2013 season.
This move had such a profound effect on the Broncos.