He gave his former teammate a place to stay while visiting with the Broncos and caught passes from him at Duke while Manning was showing off the state of his arm. Stokley wound up signing a contract with the Broncos as a free agent, although no one was sure if it was because he could help or if the Broncos were trying to make Manning comfortable in his new digs. Stokley played just two games last season because of a quadriceps injury while with the Giants and he’s turning 36 in a couple of weeks.
It’s still early, but it looks like Stokley has more to offer the Broncos than just friendship with Manning. Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post reports that Stokley looks like the favorite to be the team’s slot receiver this season. His knowledge of playing with Manning has also allowed him to take on a mentor role with the team’s younger receivers, one he’s comfortable filling even if it might wind up costing him down the road.
“That comes with the territory. You have to have enough belief in your ability that you can go out there and make the team, whether you help somebody or you don’t,” Stokley said. “I’d rather take the high road and help somebody out. If it costs me a job, it costs me a job because that would mean that I wasn’t good enough.”
Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas are guaranteed spots at the top of the depth chart. There’s no one else on the roster who makes it hard to believe Stokley won’t be in the slot come Week One. Unless Stokley proves to be a natural coach, we’d bet on that remaining the case this summer.