Last week, the Denver Broncos made headlines in free agency, bringing in free-agent wide receiver Wes Welker on a two-year, $12 million contract. Overlooked in much of the hoopla is the fact that Welker's signing likely marks the end of another player's tenure in Denver.
Brandon Stokley will be turning 37 in June, but the free-agent wide receiver still believes he has some gas left in the tank. Last season, Stokley was quarterback Peyton Manning's slot receiver, a role that will now be filled by Welker.
"We [Stokley and Welker] play pretty much the same position, so it doesn’t look good for me," Stokley said during an interview with ESPN 102.3 in Denver (via SportsRadioInterviews.com via PFT). "But you never know in this league what can happen. But right now it doesn’t look like I’ll be back there.”
So, will Stokley return for a 16th season in 2013?
“Yeah, I think so. It’s always harder when you’re my age. I’ve got two boys and it’s harder to be away from them, but I think so. I think I still want to play and I still love the game, love to compete and I still think I’ve got something to offer a team.”
There is not much Stokley hasn't accomplished in his career. He is a two-time Super Bowl champion (with the 200 Baltimore Ravens and the 2006 Indianapolis Colts) and was an early-season member of the 2011 New York Giants team that went on to win Super Bowl XLII.
Last season, Stokley followed Manning (his buddy) to Denver after two short stints in New York and Seattle during the two previous seasons. Reunited with Manning for the first time since they were teammates in Indianapolis, Stokley hauled in 45 passes for 544 yards and five scores in 2012.
Aged and seemingly cast off by Denver, Stokley is not quite ready to call it quits.
"My plan right now, is just to stay in shape and see if anything pops open and comes available. If it does, I’ll just kind of evaluate the situation and see if its the right situation for me.”
There is not a large market for Stokley at the moment, but as the season draws closer with injuries and cuts beginning to take place, the original "Slot Machine" will likely find a new home for the 2013 season. In the meantime, Stokley will continue to work out, waiting to receive a call.