The Denver Broncos are rumored to be done with the Peyton Manning era as reports detail that the team could be ready to turn to Brock Osweiler on a full-time basis and keep the future Hall of Famer on the bench.
Manning is still rehabbing a number of injuries, but as he works his way back to the field his replacement Osweiler has the team humming, with a win over the New England Patriots. This has accelerated the rumors that the switch to the 6-foot-8 quarterback may be more than a short-term situation while Manning gets healthy.
Brock Osweiler remains the Broncos starting quarterback https://t.co/hvglepgokp
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) December 7, 2015
Brock Osweiler & Matt Hasselbeck: 7-0 combined. Peyton Manning & Andrew Luck: 9-7. Just like everyone predicted. pic.twitter.com/2cDqaWOxhT
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 7, 2015
While the rumors regarding the Denver Broncos and their quarterback plans are still swirling, it seems that Peyton Manning is taking strides toward a possible return. He has been easing back into practice, and this week coach Gary Kubiak told the media that Manning did about a half hour of throwing in Wednesday, his first football since going down back in October.
The Denver Post reported that the team will evaluate Manning again next week, but his return could be still be a ways off. Manning is dealing with a number of injuries, including a shoulder injury, a foot injury, and an unspecified injury to his ribs.
Even as Manning prepares to return, the team could be solidly in the Brock Osweiler camp. The team has reportedly been preparing for a change to Osweiler for months, starting back in the summer when rumors indicated that Peyton Manning could be retiring.
It is difficult to predict what could happen. While Manning’s play had a sharp decline this year, the team has publicly committed to putting him back in the lineup if he’s ready.
“Listen, like I told you guys before, we’re totally committed to getting our quarterback — getting Peyton healthy and getting him back,” Kubiak said (via Pro Football Talk). “Nothing has changed.”
There could be some wiggle room in just what the Broncos consider “healthy” for Manning. If he is just healthy enough to play but still banged up, the Broncos may prefer to stick with Osweiler.
The team is certainly geared up for success regardless of the quarterback. The Broncos sport one of the best defenses in the league, and it showed when they knocked down the then-undefeated New England Patriots. As Bob Brookover from the Philadelphia Inquirer noted, it could come down to a difficult decision for the Broncos brass.
“That past brilliance combined with the Broncos’ Super Bowl-caliber defense is going to make for a tricky and delicate decision when Manning is ready to return. Will Kubiak and general manager John Elway have the guts to tell Manning that the best thing for their team is keeping Osweiler on the field?
“Furthermore, is keeping Osweiler in the starting role really what is best for the Broncos? Yes, he was good in his first career start against the Chicago Bears, and, yes, he rallied Denver to a win over New England a couple weeks ago. But he was merely a game manager in a win over San Diego last week.”
There is a lot on the line for Manning, who already took a $4 million pay cut to return to the Broncos this season. He would receive a $2 million bonus if he wins the AFC Championship Game and another $2 million if he wins the Super Bowl, but he has to start those games to receive the bonuses.
It may take a few more weeks to see how the Denver Broncos rumors pan out. If Brock Osweiler continues to win, it may take the decision out of the team’s hands.
[Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]