By Nicole Hansen
Since the end of the season, fans and media have been speculating whether or not Peyton Manning will return to play another season or retire after 16 years in the NFL. A lot of media outlets recently broke the “news” that Manning told Broncos General Manager and Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway that he would be returning to play. According to NFL.com on February 19, the team is still waiting to hear about Manning’s decision, but, according to Elway, “He’s got all the time he wants.”
Reports say Denver is being very lenient with letting Manning take the time he needs to decide whether he wants to come back or not. If nothing is negotiated by March 9, Manning’s $19 million salary is guaranteed. However, this doesn’t seem to be putting any pressure on Elway or the Broncos to force Manning into a decision. According to NFL.com, Elway believes that Manning will be back and “that he’ll be our quarterback.”Embed from Getty Images
As this story continues to develop, the possibility exists of Manning having to take a pay cut to ensure that the Broncos can re-sign other key players in the off-season. This could be a contributing factor as to why Manning has said he’s physically and mentally prepared to return, but has not pulled the trigger yet.
Many critics have said Manning may not be physically prepared to return again at the age of 38. Those who claim he’s losing momentum because of this clearly have not watched him play the past couple seasons. He had a record year in 2013 with the Broncos, with a 68% completion percentage and 5,477 passing yards, a career best. In 2014, he had his second highest number of passing yards in a season with 4,727 and a 66% completion percentage. He also broke Brett Favre’s record for most touchdown passes that season. This proves that he could still be a valuable asset to the team if he chooses to return.
One of the most valuable skills Manning has to offer is his football IQ. He’s never had one of the strongest arms in the NFL but he uses his intelligence on and off the field to post the numbers and wins needed to be successful. With an education from University of Tennessee and an upbringing in a football household, his family is known for being close to one another and stressing the importance of other aspects of life, including religion and family. Because of this, Manning is known for more than just his athletic abilities, and this is what makes him a great, well-rounded player.Embed from Getty Images
One of Manning’s biggest downfalls, however, is the postseason. Considering his regular season MVP numbers, Manning does not excel and show these skills under the bright lights of the post-season. He has one championship ring from 2006 in Super Bowl XLI, in which he also won the MVP. Manning has only missed the playoffs three times in his 16 year career, one due to an injury in 2011, and that doesn’t measure up when compared to his regular season stats.
Manning is one of the bright lights Denver has that can bring them to another post season, and maybe even another Super Bowl. With other players such as Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas in need of new contracts, Denver is in desperate need of a leader for this team to be successful. Hopefully the Broncos will be able to seal the deal with as many of their free agents re-signings as possible, most importantly Manning.