Good morning, Broncos Country!
Just two weeks to go until training camp, and the news about the Broncos this week still revolves around the quarterbacks.
That’s right, Peyton Manning and John Elway.
[Oh, you thought I was going to talk about those other two guys...what are their names again? Kyle Sloter and Chad Kelly? No wait...you’re thinking of the 2015 seventh-round pick and the 2016 first-round pick still fighting for the starting job, right? Nah...you can find that conversation just about everywhere else. I’m done with it until September...and you should be too. Just sayin’]
No, it’s all been about two of Mile High’s GOAT QBs - and for vastly different reasons.
‘Manning’s got jokes’
Manning, of course, is all over the news because of his hilarious hosting of the 25th annual ESPY Awards on Wednesday night.
From his monologue (complete with a superb barb toward Kevin Durant) to his “Super Bowl 51 Party” skit to his quips in between awards, it was classic Manning - funny, humble, slightly awkward, always professional and definitely at his best when laughing at himself.
Elway’s still got no contract
While Manning is telling jokes, it is no joke in Broncos Country that our legendary quarterback-turned-GM still has not signed a contract extension.
Although the seventh-year GM’s contract doesn’t expire until next spring, Elway himself has mentioned not wanting to be a “lame-duck” (a totally unfitting stature for him, I agree), and Broncos president Joe Ellis has publicly stated it is in the Broncos’ best interest to keep Elway in Denver for a long time.
So why no contract?
Denver Post’s Nicki Jhabvala outlines exactly why the scenario is “complicated” despite the Hall-of-Famer’s status in Dove Valley and beyond.
“When you think Denver Broncos, he’s synonymous with the team,” former sports agent Joel Correy told the Post. “He’s got more leverage than any GM has had in quite a long time, because what were the Broncos like before he got there? It’s kind of hard to argue with the on-field success.”
As with most disputes, the issue has nothing to do with Elway’s performance as Broncos’ GM and head of football operations - which includes ranking second in total wins (73) since taking over in 2011, winning five division titles, going to two Super Bowls and avenging the Super Bowl 48 loss with a splendid Super Bowl 50 victory.
It most definitely has to do with money but more likely in the form of some ownership rather than salary.
Jhabvala notes such talk is merely speculation at this point, but these are educated guesses. After all, Bowlen offered No. 7 a minority stake back in 1998, but thanks in part to a lawsuit filed by the team’s previous owner, Ed Kaiser, against Bowlen for the offer to Elway, the deal never came to fruition.
Stan Kroenke has & is keeping an eye on the lack of an extension between the #Broncos & John Elway, Elway wants a piece of ownership.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) July 14, 2017
A U.S. District Court initially sided with Kaiser, but a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that since Elway was offered 10 percent of shares in a company that held ownership of the team - and not the team itself - the contract offer was valid.
But ultimately Elway turned down the offer. According to ESPN, this was because the offer did not include a more active role with the team.
“There were circumstances there that didn’t make it work out. Let’s put it that way,” Elway told the Denver Post last summer. “It wasn’t because I didn’t want it to. It’s just that there were some circumstances there that I can’t go into that caused it not to work out, which I was obviously very disappointed with.”
Now that Elway has a very active role with the team as vice president and GM, it is not far-fetched to think he may be looking for that minority stake again.
But a few things stand in the way, which could easily describe any delay in contract negotiations.
First, three-fourths of NFL owners must approve of any change in ownership of a franchise. With all of Elway’s political capital in that crowd, approval doesn’t seem too difficult.
The more challenging obstacle is the trust set up in 2014 when Bowlen officially stepped down. Mr. B is still technically the owner, but the team has been placed in a family trust governed by Ellis and two others who are to choose the new owner among Bowlen’s seven children. Among the children, none has shown interest or acumen to become the new owner.
At the time this was done, Elway noted that “Pat Bowlen still owns the Broncos.”
“We have total respect for that. They’ve hired me to run the football operations, and I’m thrilled to do that,” he said. “I work for Pat still — as well as the Bowlen family — and I’m going to continue to do that.”
For all we know Elway has just been too busy worrying about the football team he loves to be very concerned about a contract he knows will get done.
Re-signing as Broncos’ GM has always been Plan A - and we all know how Elway feels about “Plan B.”
Do you think John Elway will sign a contract extension before the regular season starts?
This poll is closed
Of course, it’s John Elway...he loves fourth-quarter comebacks.
This one may go into overtime.
I admit, clock is winding down and I’m nervous.
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John Elway, the greatest Bronco ever, is also the John Elway of GMs
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