ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As the first week of free agency drew to a close, Denver Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway covered what had happened.
That included the fact that the Broncos’ decision to match the four-year, $18 million offer sheet running back C.J. Anderson got from the Miami Dolphins was in part a result of the departures from the team in the first few days of free agency, especially that of quarterback Brock Osweiler,
“You look at everything," Elway said. "This situation is always fluid, so when you start out, you never know where you’re going to end up. That’s why it’s always fluid. … I think that, obviously with the situation with Brock going to Houston, it did free up a little bit more cash. That made this decision pretty easy."
Anderson will get a guaranteed $5.25 million signing bonus before the month is out, and his base salary of $675,000 also is guaranteed. In addition, $1.7 million of his $2.9 million base salary in 2017 is guaranteed. Anderson’s 2018 and 2019 base salary ($4.5 million in both years) is not guaranteed; he will have to be on the Broncos' roster then to earn it.
It would have been difficult for the Broncos to match Anderson’s offer sheet if Osweiler had stayed. The Broncos had topped $15 million per year in an offer to Osweiler, but he accepted the Texans’ four-year, $72 million deal with a $12 million signing bonus -- a deal that averages $18 million per year.
After Osweiler left for Houston, the Broncos traded a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2017 draft to Philadelphia to acquire Mark Sanchez. Sanchez has a $4.5 million base salary this season, and the difference helped the Broncos keep Anderson, even as they continue to look for another veteran quarterback.
"I think we’re excited about having Mark," Elway said. “His track record and what he’s done, I think that he’s very capable. He’s the first step in the process. With Brock, we went through that process and ultimately it came down to what Brock wanted to do and he made that decision of what he thought was best for him, which was Houston. We respect that and we’ll move on and continue to put the best team we can together."
Elway covered some other topics as well, including:
Cap room and the pursuit of another quarterback: "It always stays fluid. You never know where it’s going to be. You can try to plan all you want the way you want it to go, but that's not what happens. Obviously with some of the players that we had leaving, it has opened up some other areas for us as far as different players and what we can do, as well as money, too. We'll continue to look at different options."
Running back Ronnie Hillman, an unrestricted free agent: "Ronnie is obviously testing the market. Again, that’s a fluid situation. Things are starting to calm down a little bit with where we are in free agency. Obviously we’re always concerned with where we are as far as the numbers if you understand the compensatory picks situation of where we are there, too. Again, it remains to be fluid. We’re continuing to study everybody out there. As opportunities or different players that we believe that can help us come about, then we’ll go that direction.”
Replacing Malik Jackson: “You hate to lose a player like Malik, but obviously we’re happy for him and the contract that he got. He did a tremendous job for us the last four years and he played hard. Obviously it didn’t match our budget or what we thought we could afford, but we’re happy for Malik. He played a lot of good football for us. You never have all the answers, but we do have the draft. We’ve got 10 picks in the draft and we’ll continue to survey the playing field out there as far as what’s available in free agency. This is by far [not a finished product] of what we need to get done and we’ll continue to work each day to work at that and try to find the right guys for our team.”