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Ask a former NFL player: Will the Broncos ever dump John Elway as GM?

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In this week’s mailbag, Geoff Schwartz addresses Broncos fans’ frustrations, whether Tom Brady will ever decline, and how players value their own worth.

Broncos GM John Elway, wearing sunglasses, staring straight ahead
John Elway is a Broncos legend, but his tenure as general manager has been rocky.

It’s Friday mailbag time. Hope y’all had a fantastic Halloween and are ready for a wonderful weekend of football! If you’ve got a question for next time, you can reach out to me on Twitter or Instagram.

Now on to the mailbag:

When are the Broncos going to accept the fact that John Elway needs to go? — @johnsms3

I know Broncos fans are extremely frustrated about the direction of their team — and rightfully so, as they continue to lose. When teams are struggling, especially with a subpar roster, the blame goes directly to the general managers. But most general managers aren’t the best player to ever wear their team’s uniform and don’t have a bust in Canton.

John Elway is a hero in Denver and will always get a longer leash with this team. Elway has been the general manager since 2011, and his two best accomplishments are drafting Von Miller in 2011 and convincing Peyton Manning to sign with the Broncos. Both led to the Super Bowl 50 victory. But since then, there’s been nothing but disappointment.

The Broncos have failed to draft a successful replacement for Manning at quarterback. In fact, between the 2013 and 2017 drafts, Elway failed to pick a single impact player in the first three rounds. It appears the last two drafts, which include players like Bradley Chubb, might have enough talent to turn around the franchise. Their future success will hinge highly on rookie quarterback Drew Lock, who has been on injured reserve.

If Lock doesn’t pan out, I think it’s safe to assume Elway’s tenure will be over.

Why do you think fans/media write off Tom Brady in the beginning of each season, then get shocked when he makes the AFC Championship and Super Bowl? — @076er_

Short answer: People are tired of the Patriots winning each season, so they hope the Patriots will regress the upcoming season. Plus, Brady is a dinosaur and people assume — and I’m with them — that his body will eventually quit on him. But, the TB12 method has yet to fail him.

It’s clear Brady doesn’t move as well anymore, but he can still throw the ball to move the offense, and that’s all that matters. With their defense, Brady doesn’t need to be “the guy” very often, which is exactly what the Patriots want.

I just want to add that I enjoy watching the Patriots play, and I hope Brady plays for as long as he can. I like watching the best, whether it’s the NFL or college football. If you’re going to spend three hours watching football, don’t you want to spend it watching the elite? I know, it can be boring to watch the same team over and over again, but the Patriots are the best in the NFL at changing their scheme week to week, so you do get to see a different team each week.

With the trade deadline passing, how do you view players that speak out in regard to the compensation that was given up for them — or, players that almost assign their own value (looking at you, Jamal Adams)? Is this something that most NFL players think about? — @adamrads0925

Generally speaking, players always know or value their worth. That’s why we attempt to get paid more than the last contract. “Geoff Schwartz is the highest-paid right guard” sounds pretty awesome to hear!

Now, regarding Adams, that’s a classic case of a player truly realizes the NFL is a business for the first time. Every player eventually has this moment (and here’s a tease: I’m going to write about my own next week). Most ex-players rolled their eyes at Adams, because we understand it’s a business. If someone is calling the Jets, of course they are answering the phone. It would be irresponsible for them not to answer and at least hear out the offer.

And trust me, I understand what it feels like for a team to not want you. I know that’s how Adams feels, but the Jets didn’t trade him. They kept him, which means they value his play.

Who is the best player in the NFL that the casual fan hasn’t heard of? — @PabloBison

I know people have disagreed with me on this, but I think it’s Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers. He’s a Hall of Fame-level linebacker, and it just feels like he’s not appreciated enough because he plays for a team without a big national following. I’m not exactly sure how people would acknowledge the greatness of Kuechly, but I’m amazed every time I watch him.