KUSA—John Elway has a reached agreement on a new five-year contract that will keep the general manager with the Denver Broncos through the 2021 season.
Elway, 56, had one year remaining on his contract. That salary was torn up and he was given a new five-year deal that covers this season and four more.
A source told 9News Elway is expected to become the NFL’s highest-paid ‘’pure’’ general manager. The previous bar had been set by Seattle’s John Schneider, who is making $3.75 million per year.
New England’s Bill Belichick and Kansas City’s Andy Reid receive greater compensation as those with final-say authority of their respective football operations but they also serve as head coaches. Then there’s Dallas Cowboys’ general manager Jerry Jones, whose first role is owner.
“I appreciate the trust and confidence that Joe has shown in me,” Elway said. “Pat Bowlen has always put outstanding leadership in place, and I’m grateful for the support Joe gives us to compete for championships each and every year.
While Elway’s new deal is lucrative, it is not believed to include an ownership stake. Broncos' president Joe Ellis, one of three trustees for owner Pat Bowlen, negotiated the deal on behalf of the Broncos.
“This is a special place, and the Broncos are home to me,'' Elway said in a statement. "While there’s still a lot of work to be done, I’m excited about the future of this team and this organization.”
After a Pro Football Hall of Fame stint as the Broncos’ quarterback from 1983-99 – a period that included five Super Bowl appearances and ended with back-to-back Super Bowl titles – Elway returned to the team as an executive to head the football department in 2011.
His general manager run began with AFC West Division titles in each of his first five seasons. There were also two Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl title.
Perhaps, Elway’s most impressive accomplishment as a general manager was that the Broncos reached a Super Bowl in 2013 on the strength of a record-setting offense, then won the Super Bowl in 2015 thanks largely to one of the best defenses in NFL history.
Elway’s general manager term has not perfect. He has especially found it difficult to hit on second- and third-round draft picks, although some of that blame can be attributed to the Broncos selecting near the end of each round.
And in the two seasons when Peyton Manning was not on the Broncos’ roster, the team’s record is 17-15.
Still, Elway’s overall success as general manager since 2011 is surpassed only by Belichick’s Patriots in the NFL. The Broncos have not had a losing record in Elway’s six seasons as a general manager, posting an overall mark of 67-29 – an average record of 11-5.
“During these last six seasons, John’s clearly established himself as one of the best general managers in all of sports,'' Ellis said in a statement. "He’s demonstrated impressive football instincts, a strong business acumen and a consistent ability to build competitive teams.
“There’s no doubt John means a great deal to the Broncos, our fans and the entire community. It was important for us to reach this long-term agreement, and we’re all excited to now turn our full attention toward the 2017 season.”