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Elway, Broncos dominate free agency once again

Start planning the Super Bowl rematch.

For the third straight year under John Elway, the Broncos won the free agency period in the NFL.

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In 2012, it was Peyton Manning. Last year, the productive quintet of Wes Welker, Louis Vasquez, Shaun Phillips, Terrance Knighton and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie came to the Mile High City.

Elway didn’t just hit a home run in 2014. He hit a grand slam.

Take a look at your new Broncos.

  1. T.J. Ward-Safety, 27, Cleveland Browns/University of Oregon

Nobody knew who Ward was because he spent his first four seasons with the Browns. But he racked up numbers in every major defensive category last season, catapulting him to a Pro Bowl selection. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the third best safety in 2013-2014. He’s a hard-hitting defensive back the Broncos desperately needed.

Deal-4 years, $23 million, $14 million guaranteed

  1. Aqib Talib-Cornerback, 28, New England Patriots/University of Kansas

He’s had issues with injuries and a suspension the last four years. But he’ll be pegged to fill the shoes of Champ Bailey. When healthy, few are better than Talib, who shut down Jimmy Graham, Julio Jones and A.J. Green last season. Elway probably overpaid here, but he landed another physical presence in the secondary.

Deal-6 years, $57 million, $26 million guaranteed

  1. DeMarcus Ware-Defensive End, 31, Dallas Cowboys/Troy University

The sexiest addition for the orange and blue, Ware ranked sixth on the NFL’s top 100 list in 2012. He totaled seven Pro Bowls and 117 sacks in Dallas. The future Hall of Famer registered double digits in sacks for seven straight seasons. After a season where the Broncos struggled to create a pass rush, they now have fans salivating with a healthy Von Miller and Ware on the edges. ESPN tweeted that eight players have had 18 or more sacks in a single season over the last three years. The Broncos now have two of them.

Deal-3 years, $30 million, $20 million guaranteed

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  1. Emmanuel Sanders-Wide Receiver, 27, Pittsburgh Steelers/Southern Methodist
    Denver Broncos logo
    Denver Broncos logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Here’s the replacement for Eric Decker. Sanders isn’t the physical freak that Demaryius Thomas is. But he can blow past most cornerbacks, making him the ideal downfield threat for Manning. Sanders was a bright spot on an underachieving Pittsburgh team last year, notching 67 receptions for 740 yards and six touchdowns.

Deal-3 years, $15 million, $6 million guaranteed

 

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