For Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos the mantra was to win or pack up their things and break for the offseason. Many of the Broncos players realized that the AFC Championship Game versus the New England Patriots could have been their last with the team. The list of players included surefire Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning.
Thankfully for the Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, some tough decisions can wait until after Super Bowl 50.
For Peyton Manning, this season has been dismal on a personal level. With his career winding down, the last thing he expected was to have was a regular season in which he would throw nearly half the touchdowns (nine TD strikes) as he did interceptions.
Peyton Manning threw passes to the wrong team 17 times. By the time he began to settle in during the AFC Championship Game, Manning had thrown two touchdowns (courtesy of ESPN) in 17 minutes. Each score went to tight end Owen Daniels. For all of his struggles in the Broncos’ offense this season, Peyton Manning came out looking to make one last stand at Denver’s Mile High Stadium. He did so with the help of the Broncos’ defense in the 20-18 win over the New England Patriots.
Few people believe that Peyton Manning will return as the quarterback of the Denver Broncos next season. In fact, given the free-agency status of several Broncos’ players, most people are expecting big changes in the offseason.
According to Spotrac, the Denver Broncos will have 25 free agents this offseason. The list does not include Peyton Manning, but key members of the NFL’s top defense will be available for other teams on March 16th.
Gregg Rosenthal, editor of NFL.com’s “Around the NFL“, released a list of the top-20 pending free agents in the upcoming offseason. Three of the Denver Broncos’ defensive players made the list, including linebacker Von Miller, defensive tackle Malik Jackson and linebacker Danny Trevathan. They were ranked first, eighth and 18th respectively on the top-20 list. The final player to make the list was Denver Broncos QB Brock Osweiler.
Not listed in Rosenthal’s top-20 list was the Denver Broncos’ leading tackler LB Brandon Marshall.
The Denver Broncos will not allow every player to walk during the offseason. The top priority is to re-sign Von Miller. How much he commands will determine which other players will be kept. One thing that is for certain is that the Denver Broncos will want to get younger in order to have sustained success.
I know America loves Peyton but would it be too much to ask CBS to give Von Miller some camera time...too?— Desmond Howard (@DesmondHoward) January 24, 2016
Von Miller is a young defender at 26 years-old. He still has room to grow. The talk is that Miller could become the highest-paid defender in the NFL this offseason. If that holds true, some tough decisions will have to be made. That will likely mean the end of the Peyton Manning era as a member of the Broncos.
Cameras should be surrounding Von Miller. And new PAT rule is great. Plays biggest role in classic playoff thriller.— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) January 24, 2016
Having a strong defense allows room for any quarterback to get comfortable with the team. It just makes sense that the Broncos move on with a younger passer to lead them for the next four or five seasons. Since he will be turning 40 in March, thoughts on investing in Peyton Manning must be silenced.
That does not mean Brock Osweiler is the long-term answer at quarterback. He has shown the potential to be considered as a fixture in the Denver Broncos’ future. If Osweiler is in, that will mean Peyton Manning will be out.
Not even winning the Super Bowl would guarantee the return of one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. The $19 million he is due for the 2016 NFL season will not allow the Denver Broncos to keep him. Doing so will force them to move on without a couple of defensive players, unless he is willing to restructure his deal It is sad to say, but Peyton Manning’s run with the Denver Broncos is just about over. At least fans get to wait until the Super Bowl for Manning’s last hurrah.
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)