By now, Broncos Country should know better.
But right on cue, the same thing happens at the same time every year. The fans of the Denver Broncos have to be talked off the ledge when free agency starts. It's to the point now we should shove them off.
Broncos fans: "Oh my God, is anyone left on the roster?"
"We have let everyone go."
"John Elway's ego will cost this franchise."
"We traded for Mark Sanchez? The butt fumble guy?"
For the upteenth time when free agency starts: Take a deep breath. The league year isn't even two days old and some fans feel the 2016 season is lost.
For real. It's maddening.
For those on the edge after the Sanchez trade, perhaps it's part of a bigger plan? Say to get Colin Kaepernick?
Let the process play out. Let John Elway do his thing.
Denver has lost two starters on defense who are both replaceable. It's lost a quarterback who actually said his "best chance to win" is not with the team that just won the Super Bowl. And most likely a running back who has had multiple chances to take the job but can't stay healthy or consistent.
Fans: "Yeah, but we can ill afford to lose that many guys. What about the locker room and chemistry?"
Let's look at the other players and coaches who were classified with that distinction over the last few years.
Wesley Woodyard. Robert Ayers. Zane Beadles. J.D. Walton. Terrance Knighton. Julius Thomas. Orlando Franklin. Knowshon Moreno. Willis McGahee. Kevin Vickerson. Eric Decker. A former quarterback who throws left-handed. John Fox. Heck, some even panicked over Rahim Moore.
You can now add Malik Jackson, Danny Trevathan, Brock Osweiler and C.J. Anderson to the list.
What's the common theme? They're all replaceable. They're not cornerstone building blocks to the continued success of the franchise. They're not Von Miller. They're not Chris Harris Jr. They're not Derek Wolfe. Despite what some may think, Denver felt that way when it paid Demaryius Thomas.
Of those on that list, who have the Broncos missed?
A grand total of zero. Yet every year around this time, this always happens.
The only aspect we're missing is a few midgets and Jerry Springer.
Denver still has nine of the 11 starters on defense.
Two Pro-Bowl level receivers.
Two potential starters on the offensive line back from injury, plus the addition of a free agent who is motivated to help his new team and get to work.
It still has Gary Kubiak and his excellent coaching staff.
Oh, and the big one: Elway.
There's still a lot of time left in this process. The NFL hasn't even hit the second wave of free agency, let alone the NFL Draft. Yet, fans are losing their minds
Take a deep breath. This isn't a sprint; it's a marathon. As Elway and the Broncos said, it's one step in the process. No one knows what the next move is. If Sanchez stays with Denver, Elway got him for next to nothing. And as was said on social media, is Osweiler really worth $14 million more than Sanchez? Not to mention, this doesn't make Sanchez the guaranteed starter.
Even after trading for Mark Sanchez, Broncos plan to bring in another QB to compete for starting job. Denver not done at QB yet.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2016
The common belief after a Super Bowl win is that you have to "keep the band together." This isn't the 1970s and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The salary cap makes that impossible. Look no further than the New England Patriots. There are two constants over their run - Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Everyone else is replaceable.
Fans get attached to players. It's a huge reason why sports are so great.
That also deludes fans into thinking certain players are crucial to the success of a franchise. That's just not the case, as Elway has proven over and over again.
The Broncos are still Super Bowl champions.
By now, you have to know Elway will continue to put the best team on the field.
Let it play out.
He's proven he's pretty good at this.