Peyton Manning to return to the NFL

Vidal Maldonado, Sports Editor

 Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was second in the NFL with 39 touchdown passes last season, fourth in the NFL with 4,727 passing yards last season and fourth in the NFL with a 101.5 passer rating last season. Those don’t sound like the numbers of a player who is to retire or none-the-less take a paycut.  

There’s increasing talk that that’s exactly what Manning should do. Plenty of people have floated it as a possibility, but with DaMarius Thomas and Julius Thomas in free agency it almost seems like a definite possibility and Manning’s moral will be put to the test many say because at his age taking a pay cut or should just retire, if he does return it would test his morale to see if he is really playing for another Super Bowl or just for the money. Assuming Manning is back for 2015, the better question might be, should he take less money than the $19 million base salary that will become guaranteed if he is on the Denver roster on March 9?

Manning certainly has made plenty of money and continues to make piles of cash both playing football and through his side work as a corporate pitch man.

But the Broncos have around $25 million of cap space to spend, and are poised to put the franchise tag on receiver Demaryius Thomas, something that would eat up roughly half the remaining cap space. If Manning were to redo his deal, it could free up several million – perhaps enough to keep a player like Terrance Knighton, Julius Thomas or Orlando Franklin from walking out the door and heading to greener pastures in free agency.

As of recent it has been decided that Manning will return but will be taking a pay cut of four million to return to the broncos with the departure of Julius Thomas, there is no certainty in the teams ability to make the playoffs let alone win a Super Bowl  with key weapons leving to other teams.

Another issue is how will Manning mesh with the offensive system taught by coach Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison? Manning is an immobile, shotgun-positioned, line of scrimmage-operating passer. He’s soon to be indisputably and statistically the best passer in NFL history. Kubiak likes his quarterbacks to huddle, take the snap from center, move and mix in handoffs with the pass.

John Elway, the Broncos’ general manager and roster architect, is not concerned.

“Gary Kubiak’s one of the easiest guys to get along with,” Elway said Sunday at the NFL owners meetings as he walked through the vast property of the Arizona Biltmore resort. “He’s very smart. Plus, Rico (Dennison) is a very smart coach. (Gregg) Knapp is the same (quarterbacks) coach. They’re going to get along fine. They’ll get a feel for it. We’re going to put in what Peyton likes to do offensively with what Gary has always done.”

Manning has much to live to up to as he critics will be quick to judge what will surely be his last stand at the quarterback position possibly ever.