Broncos sign Elam to 5-year, $9M deal
By John Marshall
DENVER After buying a plot of land south of Denver last summer, Broncos kicker Jason Elam never went through with plans to build a home because of his uncertain future.
Now, he won't have to worry about that.
Elam had an appointment with a home builder yesterday afternoon, just hours after signing a five-year, $9 million deal that could allow him to finish his career in Denver. His $2.6 million signing bonus is one of the biggest ever for a kicker.
"I didn't want to build a house then have to move to who knows where," the 1993 third-round pick out of Hawai'i said. "But now I can do that and know that I've got a little bit of stability here."
Elam was up for free agency after the 2001 season, but the Broncos designated him with their franchise player tag. He agreed to a one-year, $1.45 million contract at the beginning of training camp with hopes of landing a long-term deal, but negotiations during the season proved fruitless.
Elam said during the season that he didn't expect to be back with the Broncos and reiterated it after the season finale against Arizona in December.
The Broncos seemed uninterested in re-signing the best kicker in team history, particularly after he made just 26 of 36 field goals in 2002, which tied for the worst percentage of his career. That changed when coach Mike Shanahan approached Elam in late December, starting a process that culminated with yesterday's deal.
A three-time Pro Bowler, Elam hit a 63-yard field goal in 1998 to tie Tom Dempsey for the longest in NFL history.