After what seemed like a nationwide tour and plenty of deliberation, former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has finally made his decision. The free agent has agreed to a contract with the Denver Broncos and will supplant Tim Tebow as the team's starting signal-caller, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen:
Manning to Broncos...more coming on Espn— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 19, 2012
The Broncos beat out other top contenders such as the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans in pursuit of Manning. Denver seemed like little more than a dark horse early in the process, but Manning developed a good relationship with Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway.
Denver finished just 8-8 last season, but that was good enough for an AFC West crown and a playoff appearance. The Broncos then shocked the football world when they upset the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the postseason, as Tebow threw for 316 yards and the game-winning score in overtime.
It is now being reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter that the Broncos will attempt to trade Tebow.
More filed to ESPN: And now that Peyton Manning has directed his agent to get deal done with Denver, Broncos will try to trade Tim Tebow.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 19, 2012
Tebow completed barely over 45 percent of his throws last season, and it became increasingly obvious that Elway didn't necessarily believe he was the answer. Because of that, Elway and the Broncos were aggressive in their pursuit of Manning and ultimately convinced him to sign.
With Manning in the fold, Denver has the potential to be much better than a .500 team this season and perhaps beyond. Not only is an improving defense that features pass-rushers Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller appealing, but the offense has plenty of excellent pieces as well.
Wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker have both shown the potential to be game-breakers, while running back Willis McGahee provided a great presence in the backfield last season.
Perhaps most important, however, is Pro Bowl left tackle Ryan Clady, who will be charged with the all-important task of protecting Manning's blind side as he tries to come back from multiple neck surgeries.
It remains to be seen how long Manning will be able to hold up and whether he can return to his previous form. But if he is anything close to the quarterback he used to be, then it should be an exciting year in Denver.