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Broncos free agency: The Peyton Manning effect

The Broncos have an ace in the hole when it comes to wooing free agents, and that ace is Peyton Manning. Hear how Denver's four free agent signees - T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware, and Emmanuel Sanders - all attribute part of their decision to join Denver to Peyton Manning.


Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders on the Broncos' earlier free-agency moves

"They definitely did a great job from a free-agent perspective. When I saw them bring in [DE] DeMarcus Ware, [CB] Aqib Talib and [S] T.J. Ward, I was like, ‘They're stacking up on defense.' I knew with [QB] Peyton Manning and [WR] Demaryius Thomas and [TE] Julius Thomas and [WR] Wes Welker and [WR Andre] Caldwell, I was like, ‘I would fit with these guys really well.' When my agent, Steve Weinberg, got the call, we were definitely fist-bumping. We were hoping that the numbers matched, and they matched. So yesterday was probably one of the best days of my life."

Sanders on how Manning and this offense can make him a better player

"It definitely can make me a better player. When I was in college, I played under a guy by the name of June Jones. He spread the football around. It was called the Run-n-Shoot. We threw the football on fourth down, sometimes fourth-and-1, third-and-1, we threw the football. I feel like as a wide receiver, this is like when June came to SMU, it was like wide receiver heaven to have June Jones come in. So to play with Peyton Manning is like wide receiver heaven. I feel like he's one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game. Definitely I look up to him a lot in terms of his preparation, and I know that he's going to make me a better player whether it's mentally and physically. I know that I'm in a great environment."

Defensive end DeMarcus Ware on what the way the Seahawks played in the Super Bowl told the rest of the NFL

"When you think about defense, the motto has always been ‘Defense wins championships.' You can see a lot of teams that maybe have a mediocre offense but their defense is really good-they get good field position, they get more turnovers, short fields, so they're able to still score points and get the job done and make the playoffs and make the Super Bowl. Now you flip that around and you can see when Seattle played the Broncos, you had a guy like Peyton who can score points and get all that done, but the Seahawks defense can really create havoc and sort of stop guys from doing what they do best. So (the Broncos) turned around and said, ‘You know what? We're fixing to beef up our defense. We've got our offense, now let's go and get our defense right. Because we know we're a contender.'"

Ware on why he chose Denver

"When you think about where God puts you and an opportunity where you sort of have no choice, I felt like, for me, being part of an organization-meaning if you think about the Cowboys, now what organizations are out there that tailor to that or are the same as that organization? I feel like the Broncos were that. I feel like what they're bringing to the table, what they're doing with this organization, it's a perfect fit for me. Playing with a guy like [LB] Von Miller-they like to rush the passer. Some of the things that they have missing, and it was a main thing, was having a pass rush and being able to hold teams to low points so Peyton can do his thing. I feel like it's perfect for me to come here, and that's why I feel like it was a perfect fit."

Cornerback Aqib Talib on how much QB Peyton Manning played in his decision to come to Denver

"Oh, man. Peyton is a great quarterback I had the opportunity to be on the other side of him a couple times last year. Just the opportunity to play with him and that offense, this defense, Coach Foxy, it was a surprise to me. It was definitely a surprise to me, but I'm just excited. I can't wait to get to work."

Talib on why he chose Denver

"Me, my agent-my brother played a big part, he's my number one guy. R.I.P. to my dad who passed last year. My brother's like the number one guy in my life. We kind of just looked at the best package. I do have a family, I have kids, I have a wife that I've got to take care of. Then Peyton Manning-just the total package. Denver was the best place."

Safety T.J. Ward on whether it took much convincing to get him to Denver

"No, I knew what I was getting into with the Denver Broncos. They have a great fan base, a great tradition and a great winning history. It wasn't much convincing. Money's great, but at the end of the day, it's all about winning. It's all about being around good people, good teammates, and I knew that was what I was going to get coming here."

Ward on how much playing with QB Peyton Manning affected his decision

"It was a huge factor. Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning. He's the best quarterback in the game. Great leader. My years in Cleveland, we never had a consistent quarterback, so coming here from inconsistency to the best quarterback maybe ever to play this game is a huge factor for me."