Denver Broncos legend John Elway has been the epitome of success from the very beginning of his career and now, over 20 years after his retirement, the hall of fame quarterback is still making plays and winning during his time off the football field.
Elway was an outstanding student-athlete in college. He excelled in both football and baseball while also finishing a degree in Economics, something he would put to great use later on in life. He was drafted into both the MLB (Yankees 1981) and the NFL, electing to pursue pro football where he’d have an illustrious 16-year career.
After hanging up his cleats, the former top draft pick would also find success as part of Denver’s front office as well as in establishing his own businesses. All of this put together has helped the Duke of Denver secure his finances for the foreseeable future.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Elway’s estimated net worth is valued at around $145 million as of 2020. This does not seem like much compared to Patrick Mahomes’ recent contract, which includes a good number of guarantees, but Elway played during a different era and money was different then.
Let’s break down the two-time Super Bowl champ’s career on and off the field and see how he managed to build his net worth into what it is today.
John Elway was a highly anticipated player coming out of college, to say the least. He had won Pac-10 Player of the Year twice and in his senior year, Elway was a unanimous All-American and would have been the Heisman Trophy winner if it weren’t for a controversial sequence that cost them a win against Cal. Despite settling for a runner-up finish, he was still seen as the top pick in his draft class and after a whole lot of controversy, the Stanford grad would finally end up in Denver.
According to OverTheCap.com, John Elway would have four different contracts during his playing days. The signal-caller’s first deal with the Broncos was valued at around $5 million over five years and had about a million in guarantees included. He would help lead the team to three postseasons in his first four years and would even help the Broncos make a Super Bowl appearance in 1986.
His quality under center and the trip to Super Bowl XXI earned Elway his first extension with Denver. The renegotiated contracts were valued at $12.7 million with $3 million as guaranteed money. This new extension added an additional six years to his contract. Again the Hall of Famer would pay back the Denver franchise’s trust in him by leading them to two more Super Bowl appearances, making it three in a row, and he would even end up winning league MVP in 1987.
Although they weren’t fortunate enough to win a single Lombardi Trophy just yet, the Broncos organization had faith in their franchise star and would sign him up to two more extensions. The first was worth over $16.1 million and spanned the 1993-1996 seasons. After two more playoff appearances, Elway would again earn an extension. This time he would get his big payday as the Broncos signed him to a five-year contract amounting to almost $30 million. The two final extensions had more than $12 million in guaranteed money included.
Elway would finally win a Super Bowl in 1997 and to make things better, he would lead Denver to a second straight NFL title the next season. He would retire after Super Bowl XXXIII.
In total, John Elway would earn over $47 million from his professional football contracts.
Life off the field
Elway won another ring with the Broncos in Super Bowl 50, but this time as part of the front office. However, his biggest success and arguably the reason he’s raised his net worth would have to be the myriad of businesses and investments he has made through the years.
His post-career activities would include the multiple Elway’s restaurants he owns and manages around Denver, a few car dealerships, and also a few endorsements and stints as an NFL broadcaster. His biggest deal reportedly netted him almost a $90 million profit back in 1997.
It might have taken Elway until the end of his career to start winning titles. but he sure didn’t wait long to put his economics degree into good use.