As usual, Broncos CEO Greg Penner has no problem spending huge money

Mar 14, 2023, 6:00 AM
Greg Penner...
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Broncos CEO Greg Penner must have told his football people to get stuff done on Monday.

So they did.

And they spent big. We’re talking huge.

Before many in Denver had even had lunch, the team dished out $50 million guaranteed to right tackle Mike McGlinchey, $28.5 million guaranteed to left guard Ben Powers and $5 million guaranteed to backup QB Jarrett Stidham. All in, they gave McGlinchey an $87.5 million contract, Powers a deal worth $52 million and Stidham up to $10 million.

Then, the evening of contracts came around. They retained linebacker Alex Singleton with an $18 million deal and $9 million guaranteed. Just when you thought they were done for the day, there was one more bombshell. Denver inked former Cardinals DE Zach Allen to a $45.75 million deal that includes $32.5 million guaranteed.

I’m not a mathematician, but that’s certainly not a Walmart special on the first day of NFL free agency. By also adding tight end Chris Manhertz, the Broncos handed out more than $128 million guaranteed and nearly $220 million overall. It helps having the richest owners in football.

And spend is what the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group (WPFOG) has continued to do since they took over the team. They’re paying $100 million to upgrade Empower Field at Mile High. They wrote a $400K check to replace the turf for one meaningless game against the Chargers in Week 18. And they chipped in $100K for students from the Colorado School of Mines to go watch their football team in a national title game.

Any notion that the WPFOG is unwilling to spend is flat out wrong. That narrative was destroyed again on Monday. And they’ve dished out big money at every turn, as I can yet to think of an example where that hasn’t been the case.

People can scream all they want about plans for a new stadium not being in place, but those take time. The WPFOG certainly hasn’t said they won’t be building one. And in the meantime, the $100 million they’re paying to make Mile High better for the near future is admirable.

And oh, what about Dre’Mont Jones? Why didn’t he get a new deal late last year or before this offseason began? Um, did you see what Jones told our Andrew Mason about his future with the team. When he uttered “I’m here right now” back in November, Jones made it perfectly clear his time in Denver was done when the 2022 season ended. He’s headed to Seattle.

Late last week when GM George Paton and head coach Sean Payton cleared about $27 million in cap space by releasing three veteran players, it’s obvious Penner gave them instructions to do what they needed to do. That meant cut dead weight to spend big on Monday, something the Broncos’ brass accomplished in a wild way.

The offensive line looks significantly better waking up on Tuesday than it did the day before. McGlinchey and Powers both have Pro Bowl potential. Garett Bolles should return from a broken leg back to his best form. Lloyd Cushenberry is a fine center, proved even more in his absence when we had to watch the underwhelming Graham Glasgow. And Quinn Meinerz should hopefully enjoy a long carer at right guard in Denver.

The defensive signings took a little longer, but Singleton was a tackling machine a year ago and Allen is brimming with potential in the run game. He’s more than an adequate replacement for Jones, and follows his former defensive coordinator Vance Joseph to the Mile High City.

Paton and Payton addressed some other positions as well, tendering offers to three exclusive rights free agents for about a million dollars each to go along with backup QB and tight end. There was no dragging the feet from the WPFOG or the front office; everyone knew how important Monday was for the future of the team. And they hit a home run.

While Penner might still be working on his football mind, his business mind is always churning. He’s made it clear time and again he’s not afraid to spend money. That’s how successful corporate businesses are run, and that’s how good football teams start to rebuild.

Yes, doing it in the NFL Draft would be more ideal, but Denver doesn’t have that luxury. They decimated their draft capital with trades for QB Russell Wilson and Payton. That’s the reality, and now both Wilson and Payton must perform up to their Super Bowl standards.

But there are no roadblocks from the WPFOG. Far from it. Once again, it’s a group that’s willing to spend what it takes to win. Their first-ever free agency frenzy on Monday was proof of that.

Now, it’s up to everyone else to hold up their end of the bargain. The owners did what was necessary to succeed and then some.



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As usual, Broncos CEO Greg Penner has no problem spending huge money