John Elway has practically been a lifelong Denver Bronco, starring for the team from 1983-1998 and overseeing its front office since 2011. Starting in 2021, however, he will surrender final say over the Broncos' personnel decisions to a new general manager. In a team statement Monday, the current GM announced he will remain the franchise's president of football operations in an "elevated" management role, but pursue a new GM to oversee the draft, free agency and active roster while working in partnership with coach Vic Fangio.
"Working in this role for the last 10 years and going back to my playing days, I've always tried to do everything I can to help the Broncos win and get better," Elway said. "As part of a transition I've thought about for a long time, I have made the decision to step up into an elevated role and hire a general manager to lead our personnel and football staff ... The GM will have final say on the draft, free agency and our roster. This person will be empowered to make all football decisions, working in partnership with Vic.
"I will be there to support our GM and Vic, providing my perspective, helping with the big decisions and being a sounding board whenever needed," Elway continued. "With all that goes into the day-to-day responsibilities of a GM and how the job has grown, this structure will set us up for success and allow me to focus on the big picture."
The Broncos have had mixed results since Elway's front-office takeover in 2011. The team made the playoffs in Elway's first five seasons as GM, logging at least 12 wins in four of those years and appearing in two Super Bowls -- falling to the Seattle Seahawks in 2013 but beating the Carolina Panthers two years later. Since then, however, Denver has not been back to the postseason, with 2020 marking the club's fourth straight non-winning season.
It's unclear exactly who the Broncos may target to succeed Elway as the everyday decision-maker. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, longtime executive Matt Russell, who began as a college scout and spent 2020 as Denver's vice president of player personnel, was offered an interview for the new GM opening but opted instead to retire and assist Elway in the job search.