I said this a few weeks ago while all the Chris Harris contract stuff was going on - if Denver ends up signing Harris to a deal that’s essentially just a pay raise for this year, then no one has any room to complain about how Elway negotiates with players, anymore.
It seemed like there was this narrative, somewhat perceived but mostly earned, that Elway and Denver played hardball and lowballed players whether your name was Von Miller, Peyton Manning, or DeMarcus Ware, and that they often refused to pay their homegrown talent.
Some have suggested these tactics have made Denver a less desirable free agent destination or has potential to turn some players off.
Well, that narrative can officially be put to bed. Whether you agree fully with the move or not (and I’m still not sure where I fall) it’s undeniable that Denver did right by their player and rewarded him for not only consistent stellar play, but also being a consummate teammate, community member, and Ring of Fame worthy Bronco.
That speaks volumes inside a locker room, and guys remember that kind of stuff. This is not only a short-term win, in that Denver keeps an All-Pro corner on the roster at still below market value, but it is a long-term win for the culture and reputation of a team who could use a boost.
After coming off the first back-to-back losing seasons since 1972, the Broncos no longer have the negotiating power of a Super Bowl champion trying to make it back for another run. This, along with a new coaching staff ushering in a new culture, will hopefully continue the transformation away from whatever they had become the last three years.
NFL Insider, Benjamin Allbright, talked about this on 1st & 10 at 10 on Orange and Blue 760 today. and I think he summed it up very well.
“I think people forget, you know we play Madden and play games and tough talk these digital guys but people forget there’s real people and real lives, and real people keep an eye on these kinds of situations.”
“If you take a guy and you kinda bully him into taking a hometown discount and you say ‘we’re going to be competitive the next couple years’ and then you aren’t and at the end of his contract he wants you to commit and you don’t commit the money, free agents see that and they don’t want to come out to a place like that because they’re going to say ‘oh well he’s going to lowball me and then not deliver on the backend’.
“I think what the Broncos are doing is great. I think you’re getting Chris in the fold this year, in that locker room and around those coaches and seeing if he buys in for future years, and if he doesn’t, well, worst-case scenario you’re going to get a 3rd round compensatory.”
Check out the full interview at the link above.