To fans of the popular Eric Decker or 15 other Broncos free agents, nervous times are ahead.

John Elway, the Broncos' executive vice president of football operations, said the team's prospective free agents most likely would be allowed to test the NFL market when the 2014 league season opens March 11.

Pre-emptive deals with star players such as wide receiver Decker, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and running back Knowshon Moreno are unlikely. This way, the player and the club will have a better understanding of the player's market value.

"Then we'll see if we're in the ballpark," Elway said.

The risk of losing a star player, though, becomes greater once he becomes available to the highest bidder. Interest from competing teams in Decker figures to be strong.

"I do hope it works out," Decker said Monday morning before departing with his team for home. "I love the city of Denver. I love the organization. I love everything about it. I understand it's a business, and we'll see what happens. I have enjoyed my time here."

Decker has been the Broncos' second-best receiver, behind Demaryius Thomas, each of the past three seasons. The past two seasons, Decker averaged 86 catches, 1,176 yards and 12 touchdowns. But after making $1.3 million in the 2013 season, he is expected to command a multiyear contract worth $7 million to $9 million annually — the variance depending what the market bears.

Denver's other starters who are set to become free agents: Moreno, Rodgers-Cromartie, guard Zane Beadles, defensive end Shaun Phillips, safety Mike Adams and linebacker Paris Lenon.