In the short term, Peyton Manning will be judged on wins and stats in Denver, but his fingerprints will remain on the franchise through the players he's helped along the way.
Here are some of the Broncos with the most to gain from Manning's presence.
Eric Decker has a skill set reminiscent of Marvin Harrison, with excellent burst out of his cuts, elite route-running ability and sneaky speed. With Manning helping him develop, Decker could even post similar numbers to the legendary receiver.
Unfortunately, since Decker is a pro-style receiver, he struggled with Tim Tebow at the helm. With a passer like Manning getting him the ball, though, Decker stands to post massive numbers across the board.
Decker still needs to work on his hands, but Manning throws a much more catchable ball than Tebow and Kyle Orton did, so he should improve in this regard as well.
Manning virtually guarantees Decker the kind of season he needs to earn a solid pay raise.With a big season, Decker could find himself a very rich man soon.
As good as Manning's receivers always were in his prime, he's never thrown to a receiver like Demaryius Thomas before.
Thomas posses a rare blend of size, speed and strength that make him a top threat on deep routes and screens.
With Thomas streaking downfield, Manning will probably end up throwing more deep balls than ever before in his career. Thomas will definitely appreciate the accuracy and touch on Manning's long ball, which should result in a big season.
Thomas, like Decker, stands to make a lot of money after a solid season with Manning at the helm.
That Bailey will benefit from Manning's presence is a little counter-intuitive, but it actually makes a lot of sense.
Bailey is probably on the edge of being a Hall of Famer. He's been a great cornerback for a long time, but he doesn't really have any signature accomplishments in terms of Super Bowls or stats. His 50 interceptions are very impressive, but they alone might not be enough to get him into the Hall.
With Manning at the helm, though, the Broncos should find themselves leading more often. That means that opponents will have to pass more, and Bailey will get the opportunity to get more interceptions.
Bailey is a championship and another elite season away from being a sure-fire Hall of Fame candidate. With Manning at the helm, Bailey will have an opportunity to put forward an elite statistical season. That should be enough to get him into the Hall.
The knock on Osweiler heading into the draft was that he was too inexperienced, too raw to make an impact in the NFL for a few years.
With the most polished quarterback to ever play the game helping him develop, though, Osweiler is in a good position to become a solid starter in a few years.
Manning has one of the best throwing motions in the NFL and is probably the most intense student of the game the NFL has seen in decades. This is exactly the kind of guy the Broncos needed to help transform the raw but uber-talented Osweiler into a solid starter.
Osweiler can sit and learn for a few years while Manning leads the way, and the Broncos can be confident that when his time comes, Osweiler will be ready.
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