"At the end of the day, every GM has the same goal: win a championship. But when you’re Professional Grade, it takes vision to build a path toward that goal. Look back at all the moves your front office made this year, and give them a grade. Is your team on the right path?"
2014 was a busy offseason for John Elway and the Denver Broncos. Here's how we would grade some of the Broncos' moves this year.
Signing DE DeMarcus Ware - A-
Has he been an unstoppable sack machine? No. Has he had a positive influence on Von Miller? It certainly seems so. Is there still a ton of potential for the Broncos using Ware and Miller in tandem? You bet.
Broncos get B+ in free agency
Grades from ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CBS, and Pro Football Focus are nearly unanimous.
Signing CB Aqib Talib - B+
CB Aqib Talib was the Broncos' biggest offseason move by dollar amount, and he's been pretty good. It's a premiere position in the NFL, so we can't fault Elway for signing Talib, especially when Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie wasn't biting for a similar contract.
Letting Eric Decker go and signing Emmanuel Sanders - A+
This isn't meant to be a knock on Eric Decker, of whom we remain a fan. But the Broncos got the same or better production with Sanders at $5 million per year than they would have with Decker at the contract he signed with the Jets, $7 million per year.
Signing S T.J. Ward - B
Ward hasn't been an All Pro safety in 2014, but it seems like Jack Del Rio is figuring out how best to use him in the last few weeks. Maybe these lessons learned will continue through the next few seasons, and we can look back at this move and grade it an A.
Drafting CB Bradley Roby - TBD
Roby has had his moments, good and bad, so far this season. It's too early to grade the pick three months into one's rookie season. If you put a gun to my head, I'd give it a C+, with a lot of optimism for the future.
Releasing K Matt Prater - B+
The Brandon McManus experiment failed, but Elway quickly course-corrected with the addition of Connor Barth. Many will grade this move differently, and Prater's release is still a hotly debated topic. But I maintain that the risks outweighed the rewards of keeping Prater at his contract. All that money the Broncos will save may help them keep someone like Terrance Knighton, too.
Extending Chris Harris Jr. - A+
This move is just stupid good.
How would you grade John Elway as Broncos VP and GM in 2014? Give us your grades to these moves in the comments.