INDIANAPOLIS — John Elway made it official.
The Broncos will exercise their team options on wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and defensive end Derek Wolfe, the team’s president of football operations/general manager announced Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine.
“They're good football players,” Elway said. “That's why we plan on exercising, and it’s different situations but we're planning on exercising both of those."
Head Coach Vic Fangio said earlier Wednesday that he hoped both players would return for the 2019 season — and that Sanders would play “a major role.”
Elway echoed that sentiment.
“I would love that to happen,” Elway said. “Obviously the only concern is a wide receiver coming off an Achilles. That is my hope too. I love the way Emmanuel Sanders plays the game. I love his heart, I love his competitiveness. … He’d be a great asset for us, but the question is how he’s going to come off that Achilles at 31 years old.”
Elway also updated the status of several other players on the Broncos’ roster:
• Guard Ron Leary will return, Elway said, and offensive tackle Jared Veldheer could also be back in 2019.
"Yeah, we’ll look at that,” said Elway of Veldheer’s potential return. “Yeah, there’s no question. I’d love to bring all our guys back, but there’s only so much we can do. So that’s why until you get to the market and see where everything is, that’s where everything becomes realistic, because we can talk about it and evaluate and say what we’d like right now, but until we see what’s out there and what’s involved, it’s hard to be concrete with which direction.”
Elway said the Broncos are currently in discussions with Billy Turner on a possible deal.
• The Broncos remain interested in bringing back center Matt Paradis, but Elway said the team will “see where that falls” over the next few weeks.
"We are, but we'll have to see where Matt falls,” Elway said. “Obviously, we've told him that we would like to have him back, but he's coming off of a pretty significant injury. So, we have to evaluate that process. Matt has been a great warrior for us for four years. But obviously, with the injury that he did have, [that] changes the thought process.”
• Elway said he has not spoken with linebacker Brandon Marshall about his status ahead of the start of free agency — but he did not rule out a return for Marshall or nose tackle Domata Peko Sr.
“I never close the door on anybody, and I haven’t talked to Brandon yet, either,” Elway said. “So we’ll talk to him first before making any commitment in any way. … Peko’s contract is up.”
• The Broncos have not yet had discussions about a contract extension with cornerback Chris Harris Jr.
"That has not been thought about just yet,” Elway said. “We'll see where things go. We're going to get through this first wave and see what we can do in free agency. Then after that, we'll look at different options. But that has not been thought of yet.”
• As the Broncos evaluate the outside linebacker position, free-agent Shaquil Barrett could still potentially return to the team. Elway said the Broncos will also look at free agency and the draft to find a third edge rusher behind Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.
• Elway said the team will work with quarterback Case Keenum to determine if he will be with the Broncos next season.
Well, there has to be an adjustment of the contract — first of all — and that’s going to be up to him,” Elway said. “Whatever he wants to do there. As I told him on the phone, we’re going to work with him and it’s up to him to what he would like to do. And we’re going to accommodate him. My preference would be [to] have him stay here. We’ll have to sit down and talk to him again.”