by Jordy McElroy
The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t even need Patrick Mahomes to shut down and embarrass the Denver Broncos on their home field. Mile High felt more like Mile Low last Thursday night as a Matt Moore-led Chiefs team completed a 30-6 blowout to sink the Broncos into AFC West purgatory.
Enough with the excuses and short-term moves in hopes of making a contender appear out of thin air. General manager John Elway isn’t going to Harry Houdini his way to a Super Bowl like he did when he traded for Peyton Manning and scraped together the perfect pieces for one of the NFL’s all-time great defenses.
It’s time to bury that pipe dream in the backyard, while stamping a price tag on anything of value. Joe Flacco, Von Miller, Chris Harris, Emmanuel Sanders—they all have to go.
Flacco never was the answer at quarterback, and he’s never going to be the answer for the Broncos at a position they’ve played musical chairs at since Manning’s retirement. There have been enough participants to fill an entire choir with Elway always searching for the quick fix rather than rolling up his sleeves and taking on the demolition job.
You can’t blame Flacco for being traded and accepting an opportunity to start after the Baltimore Ravens benched him for Lamar Jackson.
Elway has to take the onus for the current state of the Broncos, which is stuck in a weird transition between past and present. There are a few exceptional veteran players that could help more talented teams win right now, but they’re currently wasting away on a Broncos team going nowhere.
And so is their bargaining value.
Teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs desperately need a cornerback, and both are in a position to compete this season. If Elway isn’t on the phone right now working out a deal, he’s doing the franchise a disservice.
The New England Patriots have been linked to Sanders for years, and it’s clear they’re in desperate need of a receiver with his skill set. If Elway isn’t on the phone talking draft picks, he’s doing the franchise a disservice.
What team couldn’t use a perennial Pro Bowl pass rusher like Von Miller on their roster? If Elway isn’t auctioning off Miller’s contract, he’s doing the franchise a disservice.
The fun part of the job is being heralded as a hero when making big moves and acquiring marquee talent. Turning around and selling that talent, while losing football games in the process—not so much.
Elway has worn the good guy hat for the Broncos since his playing days, and it’s time to get his hands dirty. No more pilfering diminished veteran players from other teams, and no latching onto past talent in hopes of turning back the clock—it’s time for Elway to hit the reboot button.
That decision would mean losing a lot of football games. It might also mean wearing the bad guy hat for a couple seasons and maybe even getting booed at home. Losing is no fun for fans, but it’s also a necessary process when constructing a young football team.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will Elway’s vision.
Of course, the Broncos could always keep things as they are and continue to lose football games, while missing out on a return from past investments. That road would eventually lead to Elway wearing a different kind of bad guy hat; the kind that comes with a pink slip, handshake and an exit escort.