ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --The Broncos were active during the first 24 hours of free agency, to say the least.
Adding defensive end DeMarcus Ware, cornerback Aqib Talib and safety T.J. Ward will, as Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway put it on The Dave Logan Show on 850 KOA, "help us tremendously on the defensive side."
But the big-name signings have led some to believe that the Broncos have put themselves in an "all-in" mode for the present while disregarding the future.
Elway made sure to dispell those concerns.
"I think that's really the misnomer of the reporting – obviously these contracts are big contracts, but there's some fluff in some of these contracts, too," he explained. "I think that the bottom line is that we're not doing anything to mortgage our future. I've always said that everyone keeps talking about, 'Well, you're doing this to win now.' I say, 'No, we're doing this to win now on.' That's what we're doing. We're not mortgaging our future. We had some cap room this year and we had some cash available and we're able to get in the bidding for these top free agents."
"By no means have we done anything cap-wise or anything to mortgage or take away from the future," he continued. "(Owner and CEO) Pat Bowlen is the one that is insistent on winning from now on. I hear him loud and clear."
While the team wants to win from now on, it certainly also wants to win right now. And Elway explained how all three players the team has signed will help the club do just that.
On Ware:"We needed another pass rusher and I think when DeMarcus became available, there was no question that he was the guy we coveted and wanted the most. Fortunately we were able to lure him to Denver, because he is a guy that has had a tremendous career and has been consistent. He just missed three games last year and those were the only games he's missed his whole career. He had a bad elbow – we really think he has a lot of good football left. And then you put him opposite Von Miller, it is a very formidable pass rush. ... To have those two guys coming off the edge is going to be quite the pass rush."
On Talib:"We knew with losing Champ Bailey, we were going to try to get DRC (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) signed back and then also look at other players. We really liked Talib a lot. We were able to land him out of New England, which is a double whammy for us. He is a big, physical, tough guy that can play the game the way it's meant to be played. ... Aqib has ideal size for a corner. He is physical, will tackle and stick his nose in there and he's tough. We just liked that attitude he brings to the game."
On Ward:"T.J. is a young safety that can come in here. He is a physical guy. He is a great guy in the box and also does a good job in the passing game. We really feel like we've added tremendous talent, but also top-notch leadership. Aqib as well as T.J. and DeMarcus – he'll be a tremendous role model for Von."
Elway made sure to thank Rodgers-Cromartie for what he did for the team in 2013, but explained that in negotiations, the front office was able to come to an agreement with Talib, who was a player the team coveted.
With regards to concerns about Ware playing defensive end in a 4-3 as opposed to outside linebacker in the 3-4 system in which he spent the majority of his career, Elway downplayed the differences between the two positions "because of his pass-rush ability whether he is standing up or his hand is on the ground."
"He is a tremendous pass rusher," Elway said. "Really in today's game, the 3-4, 4-3 – there is not a lot of difference in those two schemes. It is just a matter of how you put your people and what your gap is. He has played with his hand down before. That is how he'll start with us. But I think his pass-rush ability, No. 1, but also the fact that he is a tremendous person. He is a great leader and he is going to add so much to that defensive side of the ball not only as a player, but also as a leader."
That leadership is part of why the team picked up Ware, Talib and Ward.
"All of that plays into the equation of why we're thrilled to have them," Elway said.