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Elway Defers $1.45 Million Bonus

John Elway has deferred a $1.45 million March 1 roster bonus for a year to give the Denver Broncos more space under their salary cap, The Rocky Mountain News reported Friday.

The newspaper said the quarterback's decision in late February helped the Super Bowl champions sign offensive guard Mark Schlereth and defensive end Neil Smith to new contracts.

Elway would have to be a member of the Broncos on March 1, 1999, to collect the roster bonus. However, the News reported that an NFL source said Elway's deferral does not mean the quarterback has decided to play in 1998.

Elway has said he plans to decide by June whether he will return for a 16th season with the Broncos.

It is the fourth time Elway has renegotiated his contract since signing a five-year, $28.56 million deal in 1996.

Last year, Elway agreed to rework his deal so the Broncos could sign Smith to a one-year contract. Smith since has signed a new four-year, $13.2 million contract.

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