The first piece of the puzzle is now in place.
According to reports and the team, Brandon Marshall signed a four-year extension with the Denver Broncos on Tuesday afternoon.
The contract is reported to be worth $32 million, with $20 million guaranteed and a $10 million signing bonus. One would think most of the cap hit will come in 2017 when the Broncos have a ton of space. And this could also free up money to sign a few other key pieces in the process.
Compare Marshall's contract to the one Danny Trevathan got with the Chicago Bears, where he signed a four year, $24.5 million contract on March 9. Trevathan received $12 million guaranteed upon signing, including a $5 million signing bonus. Marshall is now paid like one of the best in the NFL, and he is.
With a defensive leader locked up, John Elway can now turn his focus to Von Miller and Emmanuel Sanders. With about a month before the July 15 deadline, there is ample reason to believe both will get done. And all of this nonsensical talk that Elway is cheap and he doesn't lock up his players can end.
The drama and impatience can end with it. Newsflash: Elway knows what he's doing and is pretty darn good at it.
Thrilled that our team has agreed to terms with LB Brandon Marshall on a four-year extension. He's become an integral part of our defense.— John Elway (@johnelway) June 14, 2016
As I said this morning, these things take time. They just don't happen over night. As Elway has said, "it's a process." This is the first step in that to keep the players who are vital to Denver's success. Let's make no mistake: Marshall, Sanders and Miller are that for the Broncos.
Hopefully this will bring an end to the confusion with the receiver with the New York Jets who has the same name. It's beyond time this Brandon Marshall stand alone. And this one has actually won a Super Bowl. If Denver didn't re-sign Marshall, you knew no middle linebacker would. He's everything Elway and Gary Kubiak want out of their players.
In the meantime, Broncos Country should enjoy that an integral part of the defense will remain in a Broncos uniform for the next four years.
As Marshall told The Denver Post: "This means the world. It means everything to me to be a Bronco."
Marshall is a leader, knows the defense and can do it all on the field as an inside linebacker. He really has no weakness in his game, and he has the work ethic to get even better. Plus, he's now fully healthy, and that's not something that could be said last season. Despite that fact, Marshall has played more snaps (1,783) than any front seven player for the Broncos during the last two years. In those two seasons, he finished with back-to-back 100-tackle seasons.
Now he also gets another year in the Wade Phillips system.
Think about that when you hear the Broncos have "struggled" in the offseason. Nine of the 11 starters on defense will return and they know the defense and their coaches. Add the motivation of seeing a teammate get a much-needed extension, and you can see the pieces start to fill in for a hopeful title defense.
The extension of Marshall was the first step.
Now the focus turns to Sanders and Miller.
Both will get done. Both will remain in Denver. The team has the money to do so, and has the cap space next season to make it happen.
All three will work to ensure the Broncos continue to compete for Super Bowl championships.