The Denver Broncos are rumored to be pushing quarterback Peyton Manning toward retirement, with sources close to the team saying they are ready to move on with Brock Osweiler as the starter going forward.
The Broncos have not given any indication publicly what they want from Manning, who is still basking in the glow of the team’s Super Bowl 50 victory over the Carolina Panthers. Coach Gary Kubiak said Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine that there is no pressure for Manning to make a decision.
“It’s about him taking his time to work through things and think through things,” Kubiak said (via the Los Angeles Times). “There is no hurry here. I want him to enjoy what just took place.
“We’ll go from there.”
Manning doesn’t have all the time in the world to decide. On March 9, his $19 million salary for 2016 becomes guaranteed, so the team will want to know before that what he plans to do.
Some close to the team believe that the Broncos privately want Manning to make a decision well before that point.
Gary Kubiak has already hinted that the team wants Brock Osweiler as the starter moving forward. He performed well this year behind the league’s best defense, going 5-2 and keeping the team as the league’s top seed while Manning nursed a number of injuries.
Osweiler is seen as having a great deal of upside, while Manning hit the wall this season as injuries and declining performance caught up with him.
There may be some extra motivation for the Denver Broncos to push Peyton Manning toward retirement. He still has the HGH allegations and the possibility of an NFL investigation looming, and is also fighting allegations of sexual assault from his time at Tennessee.
While it doesn’t seem likely that Manning could face discipline from either issue — the evidence of his alleged HGH use isn’t seen as very strong, and there are serious questions being raised about the sexual assault accuser — they would still be distractions that the defending Super Bowl champions would rather avoid.
There is also a chance that the Denver Broncos could end up with neither Peyton Manning nor Brock Osweiler next season. There are rumors that the team is one of a handful interested in Robert Griffin III, who will be on his way out of Washington and will be one of the top free agent quarterbacks.
As NJ reported, Griffin could be a good alternative if the market for Osweiler gets too high and the team is too strapped for cash after likely giving Von Miller the franchise tag.
“After performing admirably in relief of an injured and ineffective Manning during Denver’s run to the No. 1 overall seed in 2015, the Osweiler could receive big offers from quarterback needy teams like, say, the Eagles or Houston Texans.”
“In Griffin, Denver could buy low on a quarterback that took the NFL by storm in his rookie season. Considering that Denver dominated the AFC on the back of a great defense, either Osweiler or Griffin wouldn’t have to play at Peyton Manning’s former level to keep the Broncos in title contention next season.”
If the rumors are true, then the Denver Broncos may end up pushing Peyton Manning into the arms of another team. Should he decide to continue playing, there are reports that the Broncos will let him go and start the Brock Osweiler era immediately.
[Picture by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images]