The opening of NFL free agency was like a chess match between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots.
First, the Broncos agreed to terms with former Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib. The Patriots replaced Talib a day later with free agent Darrelle Revis and followed that by agreeing to terms with cornerback Brandon Browner, while Denver got defensive end DeMarcus Ware and wide receiver T.J. Ward. The Patriots then got wide receivers Brandon LaFell and Julian Edelman, and the Broncos responded by picking up receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
Broncos general manager John Elway said Sunday that he is in fact stockpiling weapons to beat Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s squad.
“Well, you always know you have to go through New England if you look at their track record the last 10 years,” Elways said, via the team’s website. “They’re a team that you’re going to have to deal with. For us to get done what we want to get done, you’ve got to be able to get done. It’s kind of a fun arms race, and we’ll see what happens next year.”
Both the Broncos and the Patriots made decisive moves to build championship teams, as both squads are led by quarterbacks who are on the wrong side of 35. Elway said the Broncos were able to cross off a number of “wish list” items in free agency, but he insisted the signings weren’t short-term rentals.
“That’s why the misnomer of us winning now — sure, we want to win now, but we’ve also set ourselves up — we’ve got four football players for three-year-or-longer contracts, and they’re all young except for DeMarcus (Ware),” he said. ” … That just goes to show you that it’s not for ‘now.’ We want young football players that are going to be here for a long time, and they’re still young in their career and continue to get better.”