The Broncos surprised outside linebacker Shane Ray this month when they informed him they won’t be picking up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. They hope that surprise turns into a wakeup call.
Broncos coach Vance Joseph said he believes Ray is reacting the right way, motivated by the possibility of getting a bigger contract next year.
“I’ve been really proud of Shane and how he’s responded,” Joseph told the Denver Post. “He is really motivated. He understands it’s business. And he’s ready for a challenge. He wants to be a great player and, in my opinion, before he got hurt last year [early in training camp] he was on his way to having a great year. I am not surprised that he is motivated and engaged. The ball is in his court. He can earn a lot more than what the option offered him if he goes out there and does what we think he can do.”
If the Broncos had picked up Ray’s option, he would have had a salary of $9.232 million guaranteed against injury only in 2019. Now Ray will hope he can stay healthy and earn even more when he hits free agency.