Broncos must re-sign Brandon Stokley
After last year’s short and very unproductive season with the New York Giants, Brandon Stokley seemed to be headed for retirement. He only played two games and had a single reception for seven yards. Conversely, after reuniting with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, Stokley experienced a resurrection style season in 2012 putting up his best numbers since 2007, but those numbers aren’t why the team needs to re-sign the unrestricted free agent.
At 36 years old, Stokley’s best playing days might be behind him. His best season came in 2004 with the Indianapolis Colts. He caught 68 passes from Peyton Manning for 1,077 yards and 10 touchdowns that year. Statistically, Stokley starts out strong and then his numbers tend to taper off in subsequent seasons. Factor in this trend with age concerns and one could see evidence for the Broncos to let the receiver go.
Alas, the opposite is true. Stokley is a catalytic agent and as long as Peyton Manning is starting in Denver, the Broncos would be wise to re-sign the undersized receiver. The close friendship that Stokley has with Manning facilitates an atmosphere on the field and in the locker room that other receivers and other players can emulate. There is no doubt that relationships develop among people who are working alongside one another, especially when those people are dependent upon each other for the success of a mutual goal. Positive relationships tend to equal positive results and the NFL is a result oriented business. From a management perspective, a major reason Stokley came back to Denver to play with Manning in 2012 was to help transition Manning to the Broncos and the Broncos to Manning.
There is no doubt that Stokley could catch a few more touchdowns from Manning next year and help the Broncos have another winning season. Aside from Reggie Wayne, no other player has caught more postseason touchdowns than Stokley. With both Stokley and Manning showing that they can still produce at a high level it would be smart to keep them together for another season if only as an example for other players.
Inevitably, the Broncos will bring on new players in 2013 just as every other team will. Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil also seem to have a great relationship outside of football. Combine that with the relationship between Stokley and Manning and new players coming to Denver have a great atmosphere which will help the team move forward and be more productive in 2013. Great teams tend to have great chemistry and great cohesion. Re-signing Stokley will help cement that type of greatness in Denver, at least for another season.