Denver Broncos general manager John Elway isn’t one for rebuilding, and it doesn’t appear that he’s going to start this offseason.

In a Wednesday press conference at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Elway revealed his plans for the Broncos’ offseason — and surprisingly, it involves the likelihood of retaining players that many thought may not with the team next year.

Elway said of both, that “yep, the plan is to have them back.” That potentially means three things:

  1. The duo stands to play a huge role in the recruitment of Kirk Cousins.
  2. The Broncos maintain their strength on an offense that doesn’t have very many strengths.
  3. The green light on a complete rebuild isn’t being pushed.

The Broncos have a $4 million dollar option due on Thomas’s deal that would void the remaining two years on the deal. This is an easy move if you’re rebuilding, but it sounds as if Denver isn’t headed in that direction. Thomas is in the top five of nearly every receiving category in franchise history and with a couple more years, could finish as the most decorated Broncos receiver in history.

  • Trading the No. 5 pick overall is not off the table. 

“We’ll be open for business on the fifth pick, depending on how things fall,” Elway said. If the Broncos were to land their long-term starter in free agency, they could trade out of that pick and stockpile more picks later in the draft.

Elway used the same term describing Thomas’ and Sanders’ situations with their gritty defensive lineman Derek Wolfe.

We “plan on going forward” with Wolfe, Elway said. Wolfe looked to be a potential cap casualty, but Elway’s plan is to bring back the fan favorite — and the heart and soul of the defensive line.

  • Reiterated confidence in Vance Joseph.

Elway once again reiterated that Joseph was ‘drinking from a fire hose’ and may have been overwhelmed with his opening year. That said, he expects a better, more improved and comfortable Joseph in year two and alluded to that in his press conference.

  • Menelik Watson is back and Ron Leary (likely) will be on the left side.

Elway confirms that there’s discussion to move Ron Leary back to his original spot at left guard. Putting him at right guard was a highly criticized move last year, after playing so many years in Dallas as on the left

It appears moving him back to his original position is the plan, and Watson will not only be back, but at expected to start at right tackle.

  • Rebuilding is not an option.

Elway was adamant about avoiding the term ‘rebuild’, saying that “life’s too short to rebuild in the NFL.”

The proof is in the pudding. A complete rebuild would mean cutting veterans like Thomas, Sanders and Wolfe. Learning of their impending return is proof that the Denver front office still believes they are very close to winning — and winning big.

Click here to listen to the full press conference with John Elway from the NFL Combine, including what he had to say about Paxton Lynch, the quarterbacks available and more, or watch the full press conference below.

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