Shane Ray takes a moment to snap a photo with Von Miller, and all the feelings come rushing back when Denver Broncos fans see the picture.
Ray is fun-loving and easy-going. Wrist complications have stolen the opportunity for him to prove his worth in Denver, now that the Broncos have declined his fifth-year option and he remains a free agent.
Von Miller, Emmanuel Sanders, Derek Wolfe and Chris Harris Jr. are the only ones left under contract with the Broncos from their Super Bowl 50 season, and Shane Ray is merely an afterthought.
Wolfe is no doubt under the microscope this year. After racking up the third-highest combined tackle total of his Broncos career in 2018 with 43, the sacks total was disappointing (1.5 sacks). The interception against the Jets helped, but the Broncos will be looking for much more production from Wolfe if he hopes to keep his starting job in future years.
Let’s hope his back and neck can hold together long enough for him to put together a renaissance season. He’s entering the final year of his deal, and the dead money on his deal is significantly less than it was in 2018 ($10,425,000 less to be exact).
Emmanuel Sanders enters the final year of his deal with $1.5 million already in his pocket from an option the Broncos exercised by the March 12 deadline, but question marks remain after his Achilles tear in practice leading up to the San Francisco game last year.
The last man standing on offense from the Super Bowl 50 season, the 32-year-old Sanders is a fan favorite and never one to shy away from a challenge. This just happens to be the biggest one he’s faced in his Broncos career.
Chris Harris Jr. has been in the news because he also is entering the final year of his deal. Contract negotiations are becoming a theme with the remaining players on the team from Super Bowl 50.
As the years pass since the Broncos won the big one, fans can’t help but remember what a rock Harris Jr. has been in the lineup. Dynamic and always ready to make a big play, the one thing Harris Jr. cannot stop is time, as he turns 30 years old this year.
The NFL is reluctant to pay 30-year-old corners, and Harris is trying to convince John Elway and the Denver Broncos that he is worth the investment, despite his age.
It's only a few days after the draft, but my understanding is contract talks have not begun with Chris Harris Jr and the Broncos. It's still early obviously. There are still teams interested in him, but that doesn't necessarily mean he gets moved either. Just waiting and watching— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) April 30, 2019
Lastly, there is Miller. The Super Bowl 50 MVP and the best pass rusher Denver has ever seen. Simon Fletcher and Karl Mecklenburg were outstanding, but no one has set the world on fire in Broncos Country like Von Miller.
After a nasty contract dispute with John Elway following his Super Bowl MVP performance, Miller now lives like a king, if private jets were around when kings ruled.
The Broncos now sit with a 2020 club option on Miller that must be exercised by the final day of the 2019 league year. Thirty-year-old Von will be looking to outperform last year’s 14.5 sacks, a total he’s only toppled once, and that was back in 2012.
Broncos fans will always have the good times and the way things were. With athlete turnover comes new hope, and Denver is hoping Joe Flacco can find his hidden Peyton Manning spirit animal, or Drew Lock can channel his inner Jay Cutler.
Manning leaves behind a legacy that will remain untouchable, and fans will look forward to the next episode of Peyton’s Places as the character and charisma he flashed at Broncos press conferences becomes evident on his new TV show.
Some of the best athletes Denver has ever seen are gone but not forgotten from the Broncos’ 2015 team, and some are still here.
Regardless, attention has been turned to the dawn of a new era in Broncos Country as sights are set on the Hall of Fame Game Aug. 1 to open the 2019 season.
Take a tour through 100 years of NFL legends and moments with your guide ... Peyton Manning.— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) April 30, 2019
Peyton's Places, coming soon to ESPN+ pic.twitter.com/yzxlGv07qa
What moment will you remember most from SB50 team?
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Peyton Manning coming back vs LAC
AFC Championship goal line stand
Bradley Roby pokes it from Jamaal Charles
Von Miller strip sack of Cam Newton
DeMarcus Ware jumps on the ball vs CIN