Get well soon, John Elway and Joe Ellis.
Then, show Phillip Lindsay the money.
The Broncos announced Tuesday that Ellis and Elway had tested positive for the coronavirus, have mild symptoms and will quarantine at, and work from, home. It is unknown when the franchise’s top two executives will return to Dove Valley or Broncos games.
Elway and Ellis were infected with mild symptoms away from team headquarters. Their illnesses followed the positive COVID-19 tests last week of starting right guard Graham Glasgow, defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and offensive line coach Mike Munchak — who all missed Sunday’s game. Curt Modkins was unable to coach the running backs in the two previous games because he had tested positive. Von Miller, Kareem Jackson and Andrew Beck also had bouts with the virus before the season. The Broncos’ game with the Patriots was changed three times because of New England’s players problems. The Broncos’ multiple schedule alterations basically eliminated their bye.
The Elway-Ellis illnesses didn’t prevent the Broncos making deals at the NFL trading deadline Tuesday. Coach Vic Fangio said Monday that Elway hadn’t discussed any possibilities with him, and rumors didn’t mention the Broncos.
They should have considered an offer for Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
Instead, the front office is moving forward with the current roster and practice squad — except Elway might have to pick up more free agent pieces from the discarded pile if more injuries or COVID-19 cases erupt.
Despite the Broncos’ 3-4 record — but winners of three of their past four, including the extraordinary comeback against the Chargers on Sunday — Elway the wheeling-dealer and “Trader Joe’s’’ Ellis were not buyers or sellers, and Fangio obviously wasn’t consulted. The leadership must believe that the Broncos have a legitimate chance to reach the playoffs as a wild card, or the pair have concluded the team has two chances — slim and none.
As my dad used to say to me when I was a kid: “Dance with who brung you,’’ which is the Broncos’ perspective although there are chasms on this team.
Oddly enough, especially considering Elway’s health situation, the league’s competition committee was proposing Tuesday the possible addition of a fourth wild-card team in each conference if, in the season’s second half, more games are postponed because of an increasing number of coronavirus circumstances and byes evaporating.
The NFL already instituted a 14-team playoff system for the first time this season before the pandemic developed. Seven teams per conference will compete in the postseason, with only the teams possessing the preeminent records in the AFC and the NFC resting in the first round. If the league adopts the competition committee’s recommendation and must add two more playoff teams, No. 1 would play No. 8, with 2 vs. 7, 3 vs 6 and 4 vs. 5 on the first weekend.
And the NFL will have to hope that no multiple coronavirus complications disrupt the postseason or even the Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla.
While Elway and Ellis are quarantined, they should agree on the phone to give Lindsay a new, long-term contract that begins in 2021. If they don’t reward the Broncos’ running back, he would be a restricted free agent before next season and an unrestricted free agent after.
Everybody within and outside the team agree that Lindsay’s 55-yard touchdown dash, not halftime screaming by assorted players, was responsible for propelling the Broncos to an amazing last-second (literally) comeback victory.
Lindsay, who missed three games with a toe injury, is averaging 6.4 yards per carry, among the league leaders, and has 287 rushing yards in four games.
Colorado’s Very Own Lindsay already has become the only undrafted free agent running back in league history to run for more than 1,000 yards in his first two seasons. He still has an opportunity to be the first with three straight thousand-yarders — if Phillip averages a reasonable 85 yards the rest of the season.
The last Broncos’ running back to surpass 1,000 in at least three seasons was Terrell Davis, Lindsay’s hero. Lindsay requested permission from Davis to wear his jersey number. The Broncos may have to retire “30’’ for two players.
Phillip is receiving $755,000 — in comparison to Melvin Gordon III’s two-year, $16 million contract and Royce Freeman’s $1,081,000 pact this year.
Pay Phillip. He’s the Broncos’ TasMANian Devil.