Peyton Manning Chooses The Denver Broncos
On Monday future hall of fame quarterback Peyton Manning informed his agent to start working out a deal with the Denver Broncos. Yesterday, a five-year, $96 million dollar deal was finalized to bring Manning to the mile high city. On March 7th, Peyton Manning was released by the Indianapolis Colts after 14 years with the team. This would open the door for a handful of teams to begin chasing one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. The Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, and Broncos all reportedly showed interest in acquiring Manning. The final three teams were the Broncos, 49ers, and Titans. When Manning woke up Monday morning, he had made his decision and informed all three teams of it.
Manning informed the 49ers and Titans of his decision first and let them know that he was choosing the Broncos. Then 24 hours after deciding he wanted to be a member of the Broncos, Manning had agreed to a mammoth five-year, $96 million dollar mega deal to play in Denver. A press conference was held to introduce Manning and it was made official to the whole world with Manning holding up a jersey right in front of him, Peyton Manning was a member of the Denver Broncos. At 36 years old, the contract will take Manning to age 41, as long as he can finish the whole contract without going down with a bad injury or he doesn’t play well enough and the Broncos dont cut or trade him at anytime. Manning is coming off of four neck surgeries, so there is questions surrounding his health. At the press conference, a reporter asking Peyton if there was a game this Sunday, would he be able to play? Without hesitation, Manning said “If there was a game this Sunday, could I play? Absolutely I could play, I don’t know if I’d put up fantastic numbers like I’d like to, but I could definitely play”. With six more months until the 2012 regular season, I think there’s a good chance Peyton regains his arm strength and returns to being the quarterback he has been since he entered the league in 1998. The thing that must happen is, is the Broncos offensive line must protect Manning the best they can because one bad sack and him landing on his neck may hurt him very bad and even worse, paralyze him. No one would want to see that, so Denver has to do everything to make sure they got the right starting five offensive linemen protecting their prized quarterback.
The Broncos were the 23rd best or 10th worst offensive line in terms of giving up sacks in 2011. They have to be way better than that in 2012 and beyond if they want their superstar quarterback to stay healthy and lead them to the promise land. The Broncos have two young promising wide receivers in Erik Decker and Demaryius Thomas. With Peyton Manning as their quarterback, the two of them could become instant 1,000+ yard receivers each and superstars. They could become the new Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne in Denver, like Peyton had those two for a while in Indianapolis. Along with Manning signing in Denver, there have been rumors that his longtime center in Jeff Saturday and longtime tight end in Dallas Clark might follow him to Denver. Not only is that possible, but late Monday night I read a rumor from ProFootballTalk on twitter, that the Broncos might pursue Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free agent Mike Wallace and possibly add him as Manning’s number one target in Denver and give Manning an extra toy and another dangerous weapon. They’re all rumors at this point, but if Denver brings those guys in too, Denver will be a Super Bowl contender with a top offense and a rising defense that has one of the best linebacker corps in the NFL led by Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller. If they can add some secondary help, it has the potential to be a top 10 or even top five defense.
With Peyton Manning in the fold and Tebow-Mania over with in Denver, the Broncos can begin to help out and sign other players to help out at other areas of the team to help make it a top contender in the AFC. With the way the team looks now, I would not rank it as a top three team in the AFC, those honors would go to the New England Patriots, Houston Texans, and Baltimore Ravens. If the Broncos can add a piece or two to the offense and a couple of pieces for the defense, they can sneak into the top three in the AFC. At this point though, it appears it’s down to the Broncos and Chiefs for the AFC West. Then again, it’s only March, so lets not get ahead of ourselves, division titles, conference titles, and Super Bowl titles are not won in the off-season, as perfectly shown by the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles. Lets see how the rest of the offseason plays out with more free agent additions, the NFL Draft, and then see all 32 teams battle it out on the field and see who’s the best team. We’re only six months away from the start of another NFL season, and 11 months from crowning another Super Bowl champion. Enjoy the rest of the offseason everyone, and good luck to your favorite teams.