Broncos will miss security blanket

Now that Jason Elam's long and productive career with the Denver Broncos is done, the team has to wonder what's next.

Elam signed with Atlanta after the Broncos didn't want to pay the amount of guaranteed money he was looking for. Atlanta got Elam for $9 million over four years with a $3 million signing bonus.

The Broncos signed kicker Matt Prater near the end of last season, but he has only four field-goal attempts in his NFL career, making one.

No matter who kicks for the Broncos, they are unlikely to have the same level of comfort they had when Elam lined up. Cornerback Champ Bailey said letting Elam go might be the most significant move of the Broncos' offseason.

"I wish it was Elam," Bailey said about Denver's kicking situation. "But I can't make that call."

Elam hadn't shown any signs of slipping, although he turned 38 this offseason. Over the past two years, he hit 90 percent of his field goals and was 37-of-37 within 40 yards. Last year he hit four game-winning field goals on the final play.

Elam arrived in Denver in 1993 and holds every major Broncos kicking record. He is also the team's all-time leading scorer and set the franchise record for games played.

"He had a great 15 years in Denver, but he's looking forward to coming home and a new challenge," agent Jack Reale said.

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