Peyton Manning Likely One and Done in Denver

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bill-swift - March 24, 2012

Before football fanatics in the Mile High City start to go crazy thinking about all the Super Bowls that Peyton Manning is going to lead them to, they might want to consider a few things:

The man is 35 (36 on Saturday, March 24) and when he starts getting knocked around a lot his neck, among other things, is going to hurt—a lot. 

He just wants to win another Super Bowl. John Elway would like to bring one to the Mile High City too. The last time Denver fans celebrated a Super Bowl win Elway was at the helm then too, but on the field instead of the front office. Should Manning lead the Broncos to New Orleans and Super Bowl XLVII this year, how often do you think the talking heads on every sports show on earth are going to talk about that?

Elway is not an idiot though. He has to know that Peyton could and very likely will retire should he win the Super Bowl. He could also get hit the wrong way and decide he's done with the pain and call it quits. Whatever the reason, he knows that Manning could be done at any time.

Unless he wants to mortgage the future of the team for the present, he needed to structure Peyton's hefty contract in a way that would not cost the team dearly should Manning leave before it expires. He succeeded in doing just that.

Peyton's deal is for five-years and $96 million; everyone knows that by now. What they don't know is that it pays Manning $18 million for the 2012 season, $20 million for '13, and $20 million for '14. The 2015 and '16 seasons don't really matter, and here's why.

The Broncos have guaranteed Peyton's $18 million for next season; however, if they cut him prior to the end of the 2012 league year they are completely in the clear. Should Peyton be on the roster when the 2012 league year ends his salary for '13 and '14 become guaranteed as well.

Sound familiar?

It would be beyond shocking to see anyone pay a 36-year old athlete with a history of neck issues $40 million. Whether it was Peyton's idea like with the Colts last season or not, it's an easy out after one season. If he doesn't take it, the Broncos will.

And for all the Elway fans...

Article by Travis Pulver

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