We see this dance practically every year since the inception of the Franchise Tag:
- Player gets tagged
- Team lauds them as a great player
- Player sits out while negotiations happen and does not sign the tag
- Team leaks stuff to make the player seem greedy
- Player puts stuff out to make the team look stingy
- Deadline approaches and magically a new contract is signed
Sure there are some more steps in there, but you get the gist. Like many of you, I'm tired of the dance. So I had an idea that sounds pretty friggin' awesome to me. I would love to see Elway show the NFL (and Peyton Manning) how a real sheriff draws down in a gunfight and drops some poor fool in the blink of an eye.
The Big Picture
As you may have noted, this offseason in the wake of our most recent Super Bowl victory, I've been waxing nostalgic about the great tradition the Denver Broncos have. I want to see it grow and see the word "dynasty" attached to our proud franchise's name.
How do you get to that level though?
We could go all New England and cheat in every fathomable way to the hilt so that we have huge edges over the competition. That won't happen here though. Our front office obviously has no trouble trying to stretch the boundaries like any franchise (salary cap fudgery back in the late 90s, but we do have lines we won't cross (right, McDaniels?).
We could look for the apex QB since having a great QB is the best way to have consistent winning in the NFL. That only goes so far (right, Elway of the 80s?).
We could focus on building the most talented team in the NFL that is in almost every way better than every other team. This option has the best history of success (see the Cowboys, Steelers, and 49ers dynasties).
I'd submit to you all that this last option is what Bowlen has been doing with the franchise he owns for decades and that tradition is still ongoing today even though he may only be having an effect today in spirit (much love Pat!).
How do we get there?
For us to continue building the best talent for our team so we can get a stranglehold on the NFL we will need to provide Elway with the best flexibility to search for that talent. Keep in mind we have a cap that limits what we can do and must work within those constraints.
The other problem you have with this big picture way of life is that in the Free Agency era of the NFL, players (who are the most important resource in a team's chance to win) are by nature of our society and the rules of the NFL not driven to loyalty to their team. Big money is out there to be had and because of the cap, there are almost always other teams out there who lack the talent that the Broncos do who are willing to pay far more than the Broncos for their premier free agents (right Brent and Malik?).
For these two challenges, Elway has already shown the philosophy he follows in steering the ship for the Denver Broncos:
- We value our players, but we do not value overpaying our players. Players who want to get paid tops can go get some other sucker team to pay out their noses.
- We guarantee the first two years of a contract and don't go crazy with signing bonuses that leave big dead money amounts in case we want to let a player go down the line.
- We reward players who want to be here with solid contracts that are not rip offs, but aren't setting new markets by being the biggest.
- We always look for hard working players with a sense of team that appreciate the organization and the tradition we have.
So here's what I want to see happen with the Von Miller negotiation from John Elway and the Broncos:
Hold your ground and do not budge one damn bit from the already exceptionally offer you let leak.
We don't need to act like every other NFL franchise. Expect Von Miller to be a part of the team just like Chris Harris Jr., Derek Wolfe, Brandon Marshall, Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, and your mentor DeMarcus Ware have. Not just by staying with Denver, but staying with Denver under their reasonable way of Bronco life.
If Von threatens truly to not sign his tag and sit out, then there you have it. Von has decided that he's bigger than the team. He's decided that he should be treated differently than any other player on the TEAM that got him a Super Bowl ring.
We offered you the big number contract. Let the guarantee issue go. Get to camp and come be a Bronco for life. If you really love your team mates and respect the organization then why in the world should you be treated any better than any of your brothers that you go to battle with week in and week out?