The Denver Broncos have officially entered the off-season and while the wounds are still fresh for both the organization and the fans from Saturday’s upset loss; it’s time to move on. The NFL stops for no one and the Broncos need to keep moving forward. In the upcoming days, we will take in-depth looks at some of the different needs as free agency and the draft approach, but today is more of an overview.
In the Broncos end of the season press conference, Vice-President of Football Operations, John Elway confirmed that Peyton Manning’s contract option would be picked up. In other news, it’s cold in Alaska in January. It is an obvious answer and Elway was just answering a question. The larger ramification to that answer is this, count on the Broncos being aggressive in the off-season in an effort to make the team better. Manning is not coming back to be a part of a rebuilding process, and Elway has already shown he’s not the most patient executive in football. That’s not a criticism, that’s a compliment. There are too many guys in charge of NFL teams that are not willing to take chances, not willing to say that winning now is the goal.
The Broncos will be aggressive, but not stupid. Elway has the Broncos salary cap under control for the first time in over a decade and he’s not going to make the same mistakes of his predecessors. They will attempt to sign any free agent that they believe will help the Broncos win a championship, but they won’t mortgage the future. That’s what Mike Shanahan and Josh McDaniels did and it sent the Broncos to depths that hadn’t been seen since the 60’s. The good news is this; free agents are attracted to teams that have a great quarterback and a chance to win big. The Broncos have both and as referred to earlier, they have room under the salary cap to bring in some talent.
In addition to free agency, the Broncos will focus on putting together another solid draft class. Elway said when his first took the job two years ago that the key to building a consistent winner is “Stacking one good draft class on top of another.” The Broncos currently have nine players from Elway’s first two drafts that are either starters or major contributors– that’s a recipe for long-term success. The Broncos will seek to add to that success in April.
In the coming days and week we will break the Broncos down at each position and discuss their needs. For now, their fans, although still disappointed about the loss to the Ravens, have every reason to be optimistic about 2013 and beyond.
Follow me on Twitter @Jemorrone7