The previous issues are irrelevant if Manning ends the season on injured reserve.
The 38-year-old quarterback is coming off of the best year of his career. However, his arm strength isn’t anywhere near where it was prior to neck surgery, confirmed by Manning during an appearance on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”
Manning’s arm and neck looked fine throughout the 2013 regular season, albeit with the occasional duck pass. A sharp decline in play this year would be surprising, but the clock is ticking.
Denver has to ensure that their most valuable asset is at his physical best. The Broncos have built their team with the intent to win championships before Manning retires, with little thought for the long-term. A Manning decline—or worse, an injury – would put the team in No Man’s Land.
The league’s most cerebral quarterback will do everything necessary to extend his playing career. Whether the fearsome pass rushers Manning will face, looking to bank off of Seattle’s success against him, will cooperate remains to be seen.
Manning is Denver and the NFL’s best player. His health is by far the most important issue the Broncos need to monitor this offseason.