January 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker (87) reacts during the first half against the New England Patriots in the 2013 AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
KUSA - Sulking is not an option for John Elway. Despite a disappointing end to the season, there will be some tough decisions that the Broncos Vice President of Football Operations must confront over the course of the offseason.
Eighteen Broncos are set to become free agents including key pieces on offense like wide receiver Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno.
"We know that we have a lot of guys, a lot of good football players, though," Elway said. Denver has managed to land some of the top free agents that were available the last couple years; quarterback Peyton Manning, wide receiver Wes Welker, cornerback Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, defensive end Shaun Phillips and guard Louis Vasquez to name a few. Losing players - outside of the Elvis Dumervil snafu - isn't something Elway and Denver is accustomed to.
"We're going to look at all the options and see where we are-and also look at our cap situation," he conceded.
For now, all these players are still technically under contract with the Broncos. But come March 8, the first day that talks can begin with other teams - though they cannot negotiate or agree to any terms until three days later - the 31 other teams will get the opportunity to try to sign them away.
"We'll see what happens in the offseason and hopefully I'm still here with this team," Moreno said. He finished his most productive season since being drafted by Denver in 2009 by rushing for 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns. "I'm still part of the Broncos and that's all good right now. We'll see what happens with the rest."
Moreno could warrant upwards of $10 million in a three or four year deal - based on similar scenarios with running backs that were free agents a year ago. Decker is listed as the most prized wide receiver on some free agents lists making his price tag even higher.
"I would love to come back. I don't know my future either," Decker said. He caught 87 passes, for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Broncos this season. The allure of staying with one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history makes the decision for him all the more difficult.
"It makes it more real. And you just appreciate again what this year has meant to all of us," he continued.
Decker and Moreno would both be eager to make it work in Denver, but considering the variables that go into the decision - on both sides - that may not be a viable option.