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Horse Tracks: No Bull Free Agency Reminder

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This is such a fascinating time of year. NFL players get to be mercenaries going to the highest bidder. Parity abounds in the NFL and this is supposedly one of the greatest tools of achieving that. There are a few things "winning" franchises do that most NFL teams don't, though.

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Never in any given year will you see quite as much rampant wailing, gnashing of teeth, rending of clothing, and wearing of sack cloth as the start of free agency for a new season. Fans for every team cry in anguish as their team makes THE biggest mistake. Other teams are doing better. The end is NIGH!!!

There are a few things to keep in mind that may help you sleep more soundly at night this time of year. They are things that our current General Manager John Elway practices and they are significant reasons that our team wins consistently in today's age:

Discipline is necessary

It is a good thing that we aren't in charge of the personnel and contract decisions for our team, I think. Emotions have to take a backseat. It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business.

Good teams have a well managed payroll for their players. They have room to maneuver, but pay the majority of their money to players who have talent and contribute to the team's success.

Stretch those dollars

Good teams are frugal with their money. No matter how much you love a player, you don't pay them out of bounds of a reasonable market value. If a player is valued by a handful of other teams who have little talent and lots of cap space, you let the player go.

Good teams don't get into bidding wars. That's just playing into the agent's hands and burning money. Sure you can negotiate in good faith. Sure you can come up a little bit if that's what it takes...but always a reasonable market value.

Never forget the draft

Good NFL teams require young talent always. The contracts are cheaper. The players are younger and as such have the potential to play longer for your team or bring value to it.

One big thing that many of us die-hard fans are starting to understand better every year is compensatory picks. You get extra picks when your team loses free agents. Malik Jackson is leaving (boo!), but in 2017 we'll likely get a 3rd round draft pick because of this (Yay!). Brock Oswieler is the same kind of situation.

That has to come into the equation as a GM. So I can pay Brock 18M a year or I can let him go, get a 3rd round pick in 2017 and go use our cap space to find a better QB? I like that 2nd option quite a bit.

R - E - L - A - X

Elway is a cool customer as a GM. He's got plans, schemes, and ideas on how to go into 2016 with a better team. He wants players who want to be Denver Broncos. My advice for all is to kick up your heels and chill. Pop open a cold one and enjoy the ride. He may suck at assessing O-Line talent, but he's pretty awesome everywhere else. ...And you never know: that junky looking RT we just signed may be this year's Darrian Stewart signing.

Broncos News

John Elway, Broncos stay course in letting Brock Osweiler walk - NFL.com
While the free-agency dollars flew, John Elway held steady, even as his QB skipped town. Judy Battista explores why the Denver Broncos didn't break the bank for Brock Osweiler.

Four teams reportedly in bidding war for C.J. Anderson - NFL.com
Will C.J. Anderson be the next player to leave Denver? The Dolphins, Bears, Patriots and 49ers are reportedly in a bidding war over the restricted free-agent running back.

Elway: We'll build with players who want to be Broncos - NFL.com
After losing Brock Osweiler to a Texans team willing to pay the quarterback a whopping $72 million over four years, Broncos general manager John Elway is in no mood to acknowledge defeat.

Emmanuel Sanders has an interesting take on the Broncos quarterback situation | Mile High Sports
Even with the Broncos quarterback situation in flux, Emmanuel Sanders feels he and the Broncos offense will be just fine.

2015 NFL Season Losers' News

Free-agent signee Brock Osweiler arrives in Houston, says Texans 'on cusp of doing something great'
Upon landing in Houston after signing a $72 million deal with the Texans, Brock Osweiler spoke of the difficulty of leaving the Broncos while saying he sees "something special" in his new team.

Chiefs lose two draft picks for tampering with Maclin - NFL.com
The Kansas City Chiefs will lose two draft picks for improper contact with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin prior to the start of free agency last year. (BWAHAHAHAHA!)

Texans, Lamar Miller strike four-year, $26M deal - NFL.com
Minutes after agreeing to a deal with former Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler, the Houston Texans have struck a pact with Lamar Miller.

What we learned: Giants go bold in win-now strategy - NFL.com
The Giants went on a spending spree Wednesday, but will Jerry Reese's moves transform New York into a winner? Gregg Rosenthal recaps what went down on the first day of free agency.

Bell: Making a big free agent splash doesn't mean waves of future success
Malik Jackson, Brock Osweiler and Olivier Vernon are among those cashing in. But will they win?