And the roster he built.
With the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine in full tilt, and the new league year less than two weeks away, Elway was peppered with questions regarding the future of some big-name players and their contracts.
Specifically, he was asked about Pro Bowl left tackle, Ryan Clady, and Pro Bowl outside linebacker, DeMarcus Ware. Ware, of course, was a crucial component to the Broncos bringing home their third Lombardi Trophy.
Clady spent the 2015 season on injured reserve, after he tore his ACL in the early stages of organized team activities. The Broncos paid a heavy price in his absence.
Offensive tackle was one of their biggest weaknesses all year long, but they eeked by with a rotation of young talent and veteran experience.
“Ryan, I’ll sit down and talk to," Elway said. "We haven’t had a chance to really spend any time doing that, and so once we get through this process, get through the combine, then we’ll get back and sit down with him. I’ll talk to all those guys.
"I’m going to talk to DeMarcus," Elway continued. "The time that we haven’t had up until this point, I’ll be able to spend time with them. Ryan will be one of those guys that we’ll sit down and talk to. We have a lot of different plans and a lot of different situations. The closer we get to the deadline and as far as the new league year, we’ll start molding that and see how everything takes shape.”
The deadline Elway speaks of is March 9th. That date is the trigger for most NFL contracts, in terms of guaranteed salaries. Ware is scheduled to make $7 million in base salary and will count for more than $11 million against the cap, unless the Broncos can negotiate a restructured contract.
Clady is entering the fourth year of the five-year, $52.5 million contract he signed in 2013. He's scheduled to earn a $9.5 million base salary and count for $10.1 million against the 2016 cap.
Both players' situations are untenable for the Broncos. At this point, they'd like both players back, but at reduced salaries. All signs point to both players being open to taking a step backward financially to stay in the Mile High City and defend their Super Bowl crown.
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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