Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Broncos tune out the free-agency gossip
By Jeff Legwold
While calling the shots for the Denver Broncos, Mike Shanahan once said, “If we signed all the guys we're supposedly going to sign we'd have 100 guys and no money."
Well, history has rolled around to repeat itself once again.
The Broncos' decision-makers, poised on the edge of free agency, are once again seeing the team's name floated plenty on players they are indeed interested in, but are also not prepared to bid the highest on.
Or, as executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway said just over a month ago, when discussing his take on contracts and pending free agents:
"It's a matter of how many people are out there and how many buyers. Are there six teams chasing him or five, or one team or teams? Plus it comes down to the thing that it's been my goal to really continue what [Broncos owner] Pat Bowlen created in the fact that people want to play here. So players will come here late in their career when they know they have a chance to win a world championship and they know the reputation of the Denver Broncos since Pat Bowlen has been here that it's a good place to play. That's why, to me, if you find a veteran guy and that's what matters to him, you're finding the right veteran guy. That's just as important as money. If money is the No. 1 thing, we're really not on the same page if it's all about money in my mind."
So, sure the Broncos have discussed the likes of pursuing safety T.J. Ward and defensive end Jared Allen. But to say the Broncos lead the way with either of those players, as some have said already, is simply not realistic.
At this point the Broncos are a negotiating tool for those two players as well as those who represent them. For either to end up in Denver it would likely require a willingness to trade dollars for playoff potential. And leaving dollars on the table is not often the business of those hired to negotiate contracts on commission.
The Broncos will be aggressive when free agency opens Tuesday; they will likely sign a player or two or even three in the opening days. That's been their profile with Elway on the job, and then they wait to add another veteran player or two in April or May.
Last year they signed Louis Vasquez, Wes Welker and Terrance Knighton early and then Shaun Phillips, who led the team in sacks last season with 10, on the draft weekend and Quentin Jammer in May.
So, the Broncos are poised to spend some of Bowlen's money this week -- it just won't always be on the players who were said to be "locks" to end up in Denver.