Are fans ever happy? The Denver Broncos just added three defensive Pro-Bowlers to their roster and now some fans are complaining about the future salary cap implications, and what the future might look like. I have issues with this on so many levels starting with the obvious one, the Broncos are playing to win and how can any fan have an issue with that?
There are so many franchises in the world of sports, Colorado Rockies, that are just happy making money and if they happen to win then it’s a bonus. The Broncos have one goal every year, win the Super Bowl. Now it’s hard to do that as we saw last season but as a fan you can’t ask for anything more. Every dollar that Pat Bowlen makes as the owner of the Broncos goes back into the team in an effort to put a better product on the field. The Rockies, meanwhile, are building party decks instead of investing in players. Which approach, as a fan, would you rather see your favorite team take?
Fans whine and moan when they feel like their favorite teams aren’t doing what it takes to win. John Elway goes all in with the signing of TJ Ward, Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware, and now some of those same fans are ripping him for spending too much money. Please stop! Elway has rebuilt the Broncos from 4-12 when he took over into a championship contender and he’s done it in three years. I understand it’s not all the fans but the number of people I’ve seen complaining since the signings is mind-boggling to me.
As for the concern that these contracts are going to mortgage the future for the Broncos; nothing could be further from the truth. These deals are so well constructed that people should be throwing a party for Elway and salary cap guru, Mike Sullivan. Yes the numbers are big and on the surface it seems like the Broncos are going to be stuck for the next five years regardless of how the players perform. Without boring all of you to death with a lot of detail, let me try to explain why these contracts as so well done.
There is a lot of guaranteed money for all three of the players but unlike other teams, the guaranteed money is not spread out over the life of the contact. The players will receive all of their guaranteed money in 2014. That means after next season if something goes wrong with an injury, poor play or whatever then the Broncos can get out of the contract at anytime. In short, after 2014 the Broncos could cut anyone of these three players and not owe them a dime. There would be no dead money.
Dead money is a term that refers to money being paid to players who are no longer on the roster, and this happens when teams spread out the guaranteed money over the life of the contract. Once a player is cut, any guaranteed money not yet paid is accelerated into the year they are cut. That in a nutshell is why the Dallas Cowboys are in salary cap purgatory. The easiest way to think about it is like this; when teams spread out the guaranteed money over the life of the contract, it’s a lot like using a credit card. Eventually there’s a big bill. The Broncos are paying cash as they go and currently are in no danger of getting one of those big bills.
Elway has consistently said the goal is not to win now, it’s to win from now on and he has assured fans that he will not mortgage the future. These contracts are a perfect example of the promise; Elway has brought in top level talent to win now and he’s done it without giving up the future.
Frankly if you are a Broncos fan, then you should be excited about what they have done this week. Don’t worry about the future, Elway is doing that for you and he knows exactly what he is doing.
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