Elway’s New Deal Reportedly Gives Him Football’s Top Salary

From Associated Press

John Elway is getting four more years to try to lead the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl championship after signing a contract Monday worth a reported $20 million.

The deal, reported by two Denver TV stations, would make Elway the NFL’s highest-paid player, passing Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins, who has a five-year, $22-million contract.

Elway has led Denver to the Super Bowl three times, but the Broncos lost each time--in 1987, 1988 and 1990.


“This contract places John among the top in the NFL salary structure of quarterbacks,” said Pat Bowlen, Bronco owner. “John has earned every penny involved.”

While contract terms were not released, Denver TV reports said the contract that will take Elway through 1996, his 14th year with Denver, is worth about $20 million. The contract wipes out the remaining year of his previous agreement with Denver.

“Mr. Bowlen was very fair to me,” Elway said. “I can finish my career here and hopefully bring back the championship before I’m done.”

Elway was the first pick in the 1983 draft by the Baltimore Colts. He refused to sign with them and was traded to Denver, which he has led to three victories in four AFC championship games, five AFC West titles and six playoff berths.

Elway, who has engineered 31 fourth-quarter, game-winning drives, is 96-57-1 as a starter. He has passed for 30,216 yards and 158 touchdowns, and rushed for 2,282 yards.

Elway is pleased with the plans of Bronco Coach Wade Phillips, who has promised to install a San Francisco 49er-style offense and sign quality linemen to protect Elway.