“-There’s nothing stopping Manning from forcing Denver’s hand. “Pay me or cut me” could very well be his stance. And he’s perfectly justified in taking it.”
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It seems like more than just three NFL seasons ago that the Denver media was monitoring air traffic trying to determine when and if Peyton Manning would land in Colorado to discuss his potential future with the Denver Broncos. But, after a trio of playoff runs that ultimately resulted in defeats at the hands of the Ravens, Seahawks and (ouch) Colts, Manning has only completed three of the five years he ended up signing here for. Will he play out his contract – or even stick around for the 2015 season? That’s the question hanging in the frigid Denver air.
The question has lingered for what feels like way too long.
We were informed after the season that Manning would need to consider his health in determining whether or not to give it another run with the Broncos this upcoming year. What we weren’t prepared for was the sense that the Broncos aren’t so sure they want him back.
By all accounts Peyton has made it clear that he will play in 2015. He has reportedly already been working out in New Orleans and begun his off-season training program yet the Broncos claim still to be awaiting word from him. It’s becoming ever more apparent that what they are really waiting for is Manning to agree to play for far less than the $19M he’s under contract for next season. The Broncos want a discount – based on Manning’s age and declining skill – and based on their need to free up cap space for signing other free agents. But Manning has no reason to oblige them.
The silence surrounding Manning’s situation has become deafening. Nothing has leaked forth in the past weeks either from the Broncos or from Manning’s camp to indicate which way the wind is blowing in regard to his potential return. On the one hand the Broncos say that they definitely want him back but on the other hand they seem to want him to take a pay cut. Manning has given no indication that he is willing to take one and he has said nothing about wishing to wear a Denver uniform again.
There’s nothing stopping Manning from forcing Denver’s hand. “Pay me or cut me” could very well be his stance. And he’s perfectly justified in taking it. There’s no question that he would land on his feet if the Broncos were to decide to move on to the Brock Osweiler era. A handful of teams (led by the Houston Texans) would love to have Peyton Manning – even if it were only for a season or two.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk speculated this week on his NBC radio show that the Texans are poised to make a run at Manning – and that they may ink Julius Thomas in an attempt to woo him. The Texans, Florio asserted, could make a quick Super Bowl run of their own with Manning under center while they groom their QB of the future. The Tennessee Titans would likely be interested, too, in luring the veteran.
Something is going on that the public is unaware of where the Manning matter is concerned. Behind the scenes there appears to be some kind of divide between the Broncos, the entirely new coaching staff and their high priced Hall of Fame signal caller. Chances are that everyone is preparing for Manning’s return. It’s certainly the most likely outcome. But it would not be completely shocking if everyone were to agree to part ways.
With John Fox and Adam Gase long gone Peyton Manning must be prepared to start fresh with a brand new offensive plan in 2015 – assuming he stays with the Broncos. That makes the idea of starting over again with an entirely different team only slightly less daunting – and if the Broncos don’t want to pay him what they have already agreed to pay him why would he not consider making his fresh start in a different uniform?