EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Denver Broncos already are bracing for the loss of veteran running back Knowshon Moreno once free agency kicks off in March. They fear losing wide receiver Eric Decker as well.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday on NFL Network's "NFL GameDay Morning" that the organization views Decker as a No. 2 receiver who might be seeking a contract commensurate with a No. 1.
Keep in mind that teams often leak these contract stories in an attempt to drive down a player's value.
The Broncos plan to let Decker come back to them with his best offer on the open market, but there's no guarantee that they will be afforded that opportunity.
Since Decker's free agency is not of the restricted variety, it wouldn't be unusual for him to jump ship if an offer blows his socks off.
With other big-money contracts looming -- including Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas entering contract seasons -- the team is leery of overpaying. That could rule out the franchise tag as an option as well.
While the futures of Moreno and Decker are up in the air, the Broncos fully expect to re-sign Shaun Phillips, per Rapoport. The 32-year-old defensive end provided a much needed pass-rushing presence, leading the team with 10 sacks.
Reportedly due to collect a $1 million bonus if the Broncos emerge victorious from Super Bowl XLVIII, coach John Fox will not enter the 2014 season as a lame duck. Negotiations on a new contract will begin shortly, with both sides confident about finding common ground.
"He's perfect for us," a team source told Rapoport.
Although the Broncos are working to keep their defense and coaching staff intact, the offense will be hard-pressed to repeat its record-breaking performance again next season if Moreno and Decker depart.