When the Denver Broncos were adding pricey free agents Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware in early 2014, a key question was whether the team was mortgaging its future to maximize the championship window Peyton Manning was holding open. Nearly two seasons later, the future has arrived and the answer is becoming more clear. General manager John Elway has built a roster strong enough to keep that title window from slamming shut in the absence of otherworldly quarterback production.
The Broncos have a 9-2 record and a roster filled with productive players in their prime years. They are winning now and in good shape to meet impending challenges. Now, there are decisions to be made. Von Miller, Derek Wolfe, Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan are among the key defensive contributors without contracts beyond this season. But many teams face these kinds of decisions. With Manning out of the picture for now and potentially for good, the Broncos are figuring out what new starter Brock Osweiler might be worth to them. Osweiler will also require a new contract in the offseason if the Broncos want to keep him.
But overall, the future is bright. Here we consider why the Broncos are in position to remain one of the NFL's better teams in the post-Manning era, and what obstacles could stand in their way.