No unrestricted free agent wide receiver could match Eric Decker's production in the previous two years, and the contract he received from the New York Jets reflected this, with more guaranteed money than any other wide receiver on the market.
But what remained was still among the best one-two punches in the league.
"To be able to get another wideout -- especially a guy of this caliber, we're extremely excited about it," Elway said March 16. "He was the guy that we had targeted from the very get-go and we were fortunate enough to land him."
Sanders can fill multiple roles. With 4.4 straight-line speed, he's fast enough to stretch the field vertically. As one of the NFL's quickest receivers who can gain yardage after the catch, he can work underneath and from the slot. This could prove valuable in the Broncos' long-term planning; if Welker is not re-signed after his contract expires, Sanders has the skill set to move inside if the Broncos see fit.
But Sanders' future beyond 2014 could be determined by what comes in next month's draft. If the Broncos add an outside receiver, Sanders could move inside; if they look for a future slot receiver or choose to extend Welker, it could be status quo.
Competition will come from
It seems unlikely that the Broncos are done at wide receiver; the question is whether they supplement it
But with four experienced sets of hands under contract for three starting spots, the Broncos aren't forced to draft a receiver even when one is not the best player available. That's what Elway hopes to have at every position, and with Caldwell re-signed and Sanders in the fold, he has that luxury at wide receiver.