Denver Broncos Rumors: Team Close To New Contract With Peyton Manning, But Losing Other Key Offensive Players

The Denver Broncos are rumored to be very close to a new deal for quarterback Peyton Manning, but as the team locks up the 38-year-old quarterback they are also losing other key parts of the offense.

This week, Woody Paige of the Denver Post reported that the team was close to a restructured contract with Manning, one expected to allow the team more space under the salary cap to make other signings.

“Of the many ludicrous rumors that have circulated lately, the most laughable argument was that Manning — who has earned more salary than any other player in NFL history ($229 million) — is greedy and won’t allow a reworking of his contract,” Paige wrote. “Twice in Indianapolis, he agreed to reorganize his income so the Colts could gain salary cap relief.”

There had been other rumors surrounding the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning, including reports that the team may have used his doctor physical as an excuse to cut him if no contract deal could be reached.

But though the Broncos appear to be ready to bring Manning back for another season, he likely be without a few key weapons. Tight end Julius Thomas, who has been one of Manning’s favorite targets over the past two seasons, will be headed to free agency after the team balked at contract talks.

Wes Welker is also likely gone, with sources saying he will either leave via free agency or decide to end his injury riddled late career and hang up the cleats.

The Denver Broncos did move to keep one important piece of the offense this week. The team placed the franchise tag on wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, though other teams are still able to make a run at him.

ESPN’s Jeff Legwold and Adam Schefter explained.

“The designation will mean the Broncos’ captain will get a one-year, guaranteed deal for the average of the top five salaries at his position. This year that figure will be just less than $12.8 million. The salary cap charge would be $12.797 million and the deal would be fully guaranteed the moment Thomas signs it.”

“When the Broncos file the paperwork to the league, it is expected Thomas will get the “non-exclusive” franchise player tag. That means Demaryius Thomas could solicit offers from other teams and the Broncos would then have the right to match.”

Though the Denver Broncos will likely have Peyton Manning back on the field, it’s unclear just how much longer he can be effective. Manning had a noticeable dropoff this season and has suffered mounting injuries, leading some to believe he is nearing retirement.

[Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images]