Should Denver's Peyton Manning Call It A Career?
The NFL isn’t hanging on his every move as it was when he had his neck surgery three seasons ago, but the decision on whether Peyton Manning wants to play another year for the Denver Broncos is still must-see television.
According to sources that are close to the situation or the “announcement” that if forthcoming, the Broncos and most notably new head coach Gary Kubiak don’t have much to do with whether Manning wants to lace up his cleats for another Super Bowl run.
Kubiak said at his introductory press conference today that he has talked to Manning, but he doesn’t know whether Manning will retire. Kubiak also didn’t say whether the Broncos want to pay $19 million to a 39-year-old Manning in 2015.
“We have talked, talked a couple days ago at length, talked a little bit last night via text and those type of things, talked a lot about a lot of stuff,” he said on ProFootballTalk.com. “I want to be the best support system I can be for Peyton.”
Kubiak did say that he thinks he and Manning could have success together.
“It’s easy to build a playbook for him. He’s been the master at it for many, many years. He’s a Hall of Fame player, Hall of Fame person. But we really didn’t get that far,” Kubiak said.
There may be plenty of time for Manning to make a decision, but in this case, sooner would be better than later. The Broncos would go into the season with Brock Osweiler as the starter and may consider bringing in a veteran quarterback to challenge him, should the decision be a negative one for the Broncos and team president, John Elway.
If Manning, who is now 39 years old, comes back for another season, it may be an all or nothing season. He is a month way from having to pass his team physical that would pay him $19 million in guaranteed salary. The 2014 season was still Manning-like where he threw for over 4,700 yards and 39 touchdowns, but there were moments when he looked human and had a meltdown in the playoffs for the second consecutive game – the last one being Super Bowl 48 against Seattle.
Manning’s return is likely, but honestly, it is not carved in stone.
Per Rapoport, John Elway was concerned about the team's toughness after a loss to St. Louis earlier in the season and wondered if his team had gotten as good as they possibly could with the current staff and roster.
Hitting the reset button might be intriguing, but moving away from Manning would seem ludicrous if the future Hall of Famer has anything left in the tank.
Kubiak is an offensive-minded coach who has had success in both Houston as the team’s head coach and in Baltimore and the offensive coordinator. Can he and Manning fit together? Can Manning still pass the pass all over the field and remain as effective as he has been the past two seasons? Is therea chance that following one of his worst games ever as a pro, Manning will hang it up?
If Manning comes back, it is for glory only – a second Super Bowl title. His career is already a Hall of Fame ticket and his passion for the game still strong. Could Tom Brady’s fourth Super Bowl ring be a motivating factor?
All of these questions must be answered. But they will only be announced when No. 18 is good and ready.