The decision on the greatest free agent to ever play the game finally came to a conclusion. Multiple media outlets have reported that Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos have reached an agreement for five years for a reported $95 million. Earlier, it was reported that up to $61.8 million of that contract would be guaranteed coming in the first two seasons of the five-year agreement.
After passing a physical last Friday and watching Manning toss some passes last week at Duke University, the team sees no concerns to Manning’s health, throwing arm or spine, on which he had four surgeries last season to repair.
Experts believe that the spine has totally healed and he has the same likelihood as any other player to re-injure it. The one main concern that teams had when Manning hit the open market was arm strength. While his spine had fully healed, his arm strength was tied to the full recovery of nerves connected to his spine, which controls his arm motions. Apparently, those concerns no longer remain for the Broncos.
While this is a major win for the Broncos organization, which from top to bottom supported the acquisition of Peyton Manning, it likely means that Tim Tebow will go on the trading block to ease any fan controversies about who should be the starter next season.
Mike Klis with The Denver Post believes that the trade market for Tebow would be strong when the Broncos attempt to move him. Tebow energized the entire Broncos fanbase last season, when he led the second-worst team in 2010 with a 4-12 record to a surprising 8-8 run to the playoffs, where they won the first game despite being underdogs against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Rumors of teams interested are swirling. These teams may include the Jacksonville Jaguars, who recently signed Chad Henne, the Cleveland Browns, who haven’t done too much with incumbent Colt McCoy, the Miami Dolphins, who have been in long talks with the San Francisco 49ers’ former quarterback, Alex Smith, and who lost out on Matt Flynn, and possibly the 49ers if indeed they lose Smith to a team like Miami.
Either way, it seems like as long as the Broncos receive sufficient value for Tebow, that he will not be on Denver's roster in 2012.
The acquisition of Manning should jumpstart the Broncos' quest to sign free agents, as several Indianapolis Colts players have recently been released and are believed to follow Peyton wherever he lands.
These players include center Jeff Saturday, tight end Dallas Clark and potentially running back Joseph Addai. Saturday and Clark would be major acquisitions for the Broncos, who could use help on the offensive line and at tight end. Reports claim the Broncos' current starting tight end, Daniel Fells, who is no longer under contract, is headed to the Patriots.
Clark and Manning have been a lethal QB-TE tandem for years and the Broncos would be wise to unite them in Denver.
Saturday has been Manning’s center as well for almost his entire career, and they have a special relationship that the Broncos would like to continue.
So far in free agency, all of the Broncos pick-ups were on the defensive side of the ball besides acquiring Manning. The Broncos recently re-signed MLB Joe Mays to a three-year deal. Also, the Broncos brought on older safety Mike Adams from Cleveland with a two-year contract.
The Broncos have also tried out multiple defensive backs during free agency including Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Geno Hayes, Seattle Seahawks CB Marcus Trufant and Baltimore Ravens LB Jameel McClain.
Manning will be able to wear No. 18 this season even though the Broncos had it retired for their first quarterback, Frank Tripucka. Tripucka gave his blessing last week for Manning to use his number, saying he would “be honored to have him wear it” according to The Denver Post.
Besides landing the great Manning, the Broncos now can get back to really pursuing many of their other glaring holes across the board in free agency, something that seems to have fallen on the wayside since learning that they were top candidates in the Manning sweepstakes.
Welcome to Denver, Peyton Manning.