While Peyton Manning will officially announce his retirement at a press conference Monday, his representatives were reportedly gauging interest around the league before he came to a decision.
Peter King of the MMQB reported the only team that was "mildly" interested was the Los Angeles Rams, who would not have guaranteed the five-time MVP the starting job.
Manning, 39, called Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak on Saturday to inform the team he was retiring, per King. The Broncos released an official statement Sunday, and Manning is scheduled to be in Denver for a 1 p.m. ET formal announcement.
Denver Broncos general manager John Elway said in a statement the Broncos were "fortunate" to have Manning on the team, per Ben Swanson of the team's official website:
When you look at everything Peyton has accomplished as a player and person, it's easy to see how fortunate we've been to have him on our team.
Peyton was everything that we thought he was and even more—not only for the football team but in the community. I'm very thankful Peyton chose to play for the Denver Broncos, and I congratulate him on his Hall of Fame career.
Manning spent his final four NFL seasons in Denver after being released by the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. Left with his career on the brink following four neck surgeries, he made one of the best comebacks in NFL history. He set the single-season NFL record for passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55) in 2013, while also leading Denver to its first of two Super Bowl appearances with him at the helm.
The second, in which Manning won his second championship, unfortunately came during his worst NFL season. He threw for 2,249 yards and nine touchdowns against 17 interceptions in 2015. He was limited to only 10 games (nine starts) due to a lingering foot injury and was at one point a healthy backup to Brock Osweiler. While the Broncos reinserted him into the starting lineup for their playoff run, his numbers place him among the worst quarterbacks to ever receive a ring.
Denver almost certainly would have been forced to release Manning on March 9 had he chosen not to retire. His 2016 cap number stood at $21.5 million, which is onerous for any quarterback, let alone one obviously on his last legs.
That Manning's representatives did their due diligence on the open market indicates the Sheriff may not have wanted to turn in his badge after all. But given his marked downturn in play over the last season and a half, it's probably best for all sides that Manning came to his senses.
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