There is no other NFL team that has ties to someone like the Denver Broncos do to John Elway. Elway in Denver is about as automatic as anything in the sporting community. As a successful, Super Bowl-winning franchise player and a Super Bowl-winning general manager, fans in Denver seeing Elway connected to the Broncos is somewhat of a given.

But that could all change very soon. If not extended, Elway could be out of Denver within the year.

Back in February 2014, the team signed Elway to a 3-year contract, while also adding the title of general manager to his existing title of vice president of football operations. Lacking the media coverage that players often get when associated with contract talks, it seemed like Elway was set to lead the Broncos without any hesitation.

Fast-forward three years, and Elway’s contract is on the verge of expiring. Much like player contracts, executive contracts can be extremely tricky with very sensitive language. An Elway extension may not just be resolved with a lucrative salary.

The good news for the city of Denver is that according to The Denver Post, Broncos CEO Joe Ellis said that the team has had “early” contract talks with Elway and that he remains “optimistic” that the team would resign Elway to a contract extension soon. Ellis also stated that he and Elway have had “early conversations” since November.

Broncos fans can exhale now. The team definitely knows the importance of re-signing the living legend of the Mile High City.

The importance of Elway re-signing with the Broncos cannot be understated. Most fans forget (or rather choose not to remember) that when the team brought Elway in as an executive, the team was coming off of a 4-12 season and had just fired head coach Josh McDaniels after almost two disastrous campaigns. Not to mention the embarrassment of a video taping scandal was hanging over the franchise.

Since then, Elway has lead Denver to five playoff births, two AFC championships, and a Super Bowl win.

Elway’s crafty thinking, combined with slam-dunk free agent pickups, have made the Broncos an NFL powerhouse once again, and an attractive spot for free agents. Elway has also had success in coaching changes and cutting players for salary cap or performance reasons.

It seems like a nightmare to picture Elway in the luxury box of another NFL team while they play against the Broncos. Though unlikely, this nightmare could easily become a reality for Broncos fans to endure. Hopefully, Ellis locks up Elway for the foreseeable future.