John Elway transformed the Denver Broncos into Super Bowl champions as one of the leading minds in the team's front office, and he was rewarded for his commitment to the franchise Monday with a new five-year contract.
The Broncos announced the new deal after ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the agreement. Schefter later reported that while figures aren't yet available, the contract is "fully expected" to make Elway the league's highest-paid general manager.
“We’re pleased to reach an agreement on a five-year contract with John to continue leading our football operations,” Broncos President and CEO Joe Ellis said in the team release. “During these last six seasons, John’s clearly established himself as one of the best general managers in all of sports. 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.”
Elway joined the Broncos front office in 2011 as the director of player personnel, and it wasn't long before he became the team's chief decision-maker.
A season later, Elway's title was changed to executive vice-president of football operations, and he officially became the Broncos' general manager in 2013 after he served in that role on a de facto basis in 2012 when Peyton Manning was brought aboard.
The Broncos proceeded to rip off four straight seasons of at least 12 wins between 2012-2015, and an AFC title in 2013 represented their first trip back to the game's grandest stage since Elway quarterbacked them to a Vince Lombardi Trophy during the 1998 season.
However, the 2016 season represented a step back.
With Trevor Siemian under center and the offense in a transitionary space, the Broncos battled inconsistencies and missed the postseason following a 9-7 finish.
Change continued to envelop the Broncos after the season ended, when head coach Gary Kubiak announced he was retiring.
But despite the uncertainty, Elway has remained committed to the only NFL franchise he's ever known.
"Challenges excite me; that's what it's about," Elway said, per Broncos Wire's Rich Kurtzman. "... This game is about adjusting. We can continue to work hard, and so that's what we'll continue to do. Like I said, the goal and the plan have not changed. That's how people win championships. We were there a year ago. There is no reason that we can't get back there soon again."
Elway still has plenty to figure out with Vance Joseph at the helm and the offense searching for an identity, but his track record suggests the Broncos will be back in title contention sooner rather than later.