clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ownership looms over the Broncos’ GM search

Who will the new boss really answer to if John Elway and Joe Ellis are gone?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Both John Elway and Joe Ellis have contracts set to expire after the 2021 season. With news that Ellis will not seek an extension, a far brighter light is cast on the looming ownership questions facing the Broncos. Earlier this week I explored how I’d approach the open GM spot with John Elway, but now that Ellis is on the outs I have to admit it impact my first question.

“What is the plan up top? I get with a lawsuit looming, everything is uncertain. The plan seems to be Brittany Bowlen, but she’s not even sitting in my interview?”

Admittedly, I’m pretty bad at interviews. This would probably kill my odds at the job, but every candidate worth their salt is wondering about it.

It seems odd that a lawsuit could feasibly prevent the presumptive owner from participating in such a critical move in the Broncos future, even if she’s doing nothing more than listening. As I worked this out with Jeff Essary on Cover 2 Broncos, I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s a clear sign the Broncos are barreling towards the highest bidder.

As Jeff and I worked through it, I couldn’t help but wonder what that kind of question means in terms of pressures. Until Monday, it looked like the Broncos were content to roll with Drew Lock and “competition” at quarterback. The names that looked likely were ho-hum names like Andy Dalton and Nick Foles. Safe because they’ve played well more recently than Joe Flacco and also because neither will actually threaten Drew Lock’s hold on the locker room.

If a new GM believes the Broncos will undergo a change in ownership during his tenure, there is no reason to believe he wouldn’t also feel some pressure to win immediately. It’s simply the smart career move. Most ownership changes around the NFL lead to a new front office and vision for the franchise. If the new GM knows he has say two years to make an impression and help himself land on his feet, he’ll want to have playoff games to show for his previous stint. He also has no emotional investment or stake in any player on the current roster.

This is all to say there’s a real possibility that the 2021 Broncos look quite different than what looked likely a week ago. It’s impossible to say right now without being a fly in the wall on some of those conversations. Who knows, maybe John Elway steps into Joe Ellis’ shoes on a new extension that begins in 2022?

I do know that right now it looks like the new salary cap will be $176 million. If that’s the case the Broncos are set to have roughly $20 million in cap space. While that may seem like a lot, it’s already more than 17 teams. A couple of cuts, trades, or extensions with Von Miller, Kareem Jackson, Jurrell Casey, and A.J. Bouye could create as much as $53,249,750 in additional cap room while incurring just $7,007,353 in dead cap. The Broncos would have almost as much cap space as the Jaguars.

That’s enough cap space to re-sign or chase after anyone.

Your Broncos News

What the change at General Manager means for the Denver Broncos - Mile High Report

It was shocking to hear news of John Elway stepping away from GM duties for the Broncos...let’s talk about what this means and why it is great news for Broncos Country

Denver Broncos: Joe Ellis will not seek extension after 2021 - Mile High Report

The bombs keep dropping as Joe Ellis announces he is out after the 2021 season as well.

Denver Broncos general manager tracker 2021: News, rumors, & updates - Mile High Report

In shocking news, the Broncos are looking for a new GM. Check back often for all the latest on Denver’s search.

Denver Broncos vs Las Vegas Raiders: The No Bull Review - Mile High Report

The Broncos snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against the Raiders to cap off their 2020 NFL Season. Here are my thoughts, opinions, and analysis on the Denver Broncos’ most recent game.

Another regretful ‘finally’ for the Denver Broncos - Mile High Report

John Elway stepping aside signals a big shift, and a major ending for the Broncos

Will Denver Broncos new GM will pick up Von Miller’s option? - Mile High Report

Mile High Report weighs in.

Has Justin Simmons played his last game for the Denver Broncos? - Mile High Report

Mile High Report weighs in.

Will the Denver Broncos new GM will commit to Drew Lock in 2021? - Mile High Report

Mile High Report weighs in.

How Drew Lock’s First 18 Starts Compare to 70 Other Quarterbacks and What Their Improvement (or Lack Thereof) Tells Us About Lock’s Future - Mile High Report

We now have 18 games worth of evidence on Drew Lock, NFL quarterback, so I thought it would be a worthwhile exercise to look at the first 18 games of every NFL QB since 2002. That’s 70 quarterbacks with at least 18 NFL starts.

Final 2020 quarterback rankings | NFL News, Rankings and Statistics | PFF

31. DREW LOCK, DENVER BRONCOS 63.5 Lock showed flashes throughout the 2020 season, but he finished with the sixth-highest percentage of turnover-worthy plays and the eighth-worst accuracy percentage. On the positive side, he notched the seventh-highest rate of big-time throws (5.9%) and showed off his arm talent. Now, it’s just a matter of cutting out the poor plays.

2021 NFL Mock Draft: Jets settle on Zach Wilson, 49ers move up for Justin Fields | College Football | PFF

9. DENVER BRONCOS — CB PATRICK SURTAIN, ALABAMA A.J. Bouye could be a cap casualty next year, and even if not, he will miss the first two weeks next year due to suspension. Surtain is a long, smart cornerback who would fit in swimmingly with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. He hasn’t allowed over 65 yards in any single game over the past two years.

Zach Gartin’s 18 Pick Mock Draft

9.) Denver Broncos Patrick Surtain II This fit makes way too much sense for PS2 (what I call Patrick Surtain II). Denver has a need at CB and the Broncos system requires a disciplined, press-man corner who can tackle at a high level. And would you look at that, I just described PS2. The Alabama corner isn’t the greatest athlete on the planet and I do have some minor concerns about his ball skills, but you will not find a more consistently good corner in this draft. The Broncos get an immediate contributor and my CB1.

NFL News

Will sports leagues and owners make their voices heard? - ProFootballTalk

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat have issued a compelling statement in advance of their Wednesday night game, pointing out the “drastic difference between the way protestors this past spring and summer were treated and the encouragement given to today’s protestors who acted illegally just shows how much work we have to do.”

Similarly, the league’s official website has posted an article with reactions to today’s events from various NFL players. It is proper. It is appropriate. It is necessary. But it is hollow without the voices of the men and women who own sports teams. Not just NFL owners, plenty of whom have supported Donald J. Trump with voices, votes, and financial devotion, but all sports owners, in all leagues.

NFL players share reaction to Wednesday events at U.S. Capitol

I guess breaking in the capital and destroying government property because someone didn’t get elected in office is more acceptable than taking a knee for injustices in our country. - Justin Simmons

NFL draft: How many QBs will land in top five picks?

The Miami Dolphins at 3 just announced that Tua Tagovailoa will be their starter next season. The Atlanta Falcons have Matt Ryan under contract, with nearly $50 million in dead money remaining The Cincinnati Bengals won’t pick another QB. So that certainly opens the door for multiple trades in the top 10, pending what happens during the free-agency period. Quarterbacks are expected to be the main trade-up targets. We could end up with three going in the top five overall picks and perhaps four in the top 10.

Dolphins offensive coordinator Chan Gailey resigns after one season

Gailey came out of a four-year retirement to join the Dolphins this season. The 69-year-old returned to coaching in part to re-join Ryan Fitzpatrick, whom he’d been with in his previous five years as an OC. With Miami fully moving forward with Tua Tagovailoa in the future, Gailey will also move on.

Wednesday’s NFL injury and roster news ahead of Super Wild Card Weekend

A day after coach Ron Rivera entertained the idea of rotating quarterbacks, the Washington Football Team took steps toward making it a reality. Here’s other injury and roster news we’re tracking on Wednesday.

Stefon Diggs didn’t practice Wednesday - ProFootballTalk

Diggs was listed as a non-participant in practice due to an oblique injury. Diggs was estimated to be a limited participant on Tuesday’s injury report, so his condition either got worse or the team decided that rest will be of greater benefit to him than being on the practice field.

Drew Brees: Alvin Kamara will be fine without practicing - ProFootballTalk

“I think Alvin will be fine,” Brees said, via Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football.

Browns will work virtually on Wednesday - ProFootballTalk

Head coach Kevin Stefanski said on a Wednesday morning video conference that the team will continue working remotely as they prepare for Sunday night’s game against the Steelers. The facility closed on Tuesday after Stefanski, two other coaches, and two players received positive COVID-19 test results.

Chargers G.M. Tom Telesco willing to be patient with coaching hire - ProFootballTalk

“If it’s something that we have to wait for. We’ll wait. We’ll wait and we’ll make it work,” Telesco said on Wednesday.

Report: Rich Scangarello won’t return to Eagles coaching staff - ProFootballTalk

Scangarello did not have a contract beyond the 2020 season and the Eagles will not extend a new one to keep him as a part of the staff moving forward.

Six years, $30 million for Nick Caserio - ProFootballTalk

It’s been speculated that multiple other candidates from the list of finalists compiled by the Korn Ferry search firm would have accepted a deal worth half that amount. Caserio, amazingly, wasn’t one of the finalists identified by Korn Ferry. Somehow, executive V.P. of football operations Jack Easterby persuaded owner Cal McNair to hire Caserio, who presumably won’t be a threat to Easterby’s power and influence and, possibly, employment.

Seven Burning Questions Entering the NFL Playoffs - The Ringer

This year’s playoff bracket has expanded from 12 to 14 teams, as two of the four first-round byes were eliminated so that the league could have six wild-card weekend games instead of four. Here is the schedule.