From the latest developments, it seems chances of Peyton Manning heading to Denver are at least very high. Elway said he wants a pocket passer and there may've never been a better one than Manning. This explains why the team would want Manning.
Now, Manning may also be interested in Denver. His other top suitors are Miami and Washington. In Washington, he'd have to play his brother Eli twice each regular season (+possibly in postseason as they both are or want to be contenders). Not an ideal situation: they will compete for the same opportunity. In Miami, he'd have to play Brady twice each regular season. Again, not ideal: if there is anyone who Manning fears, it would be Brady and his bunch. But Denver offers a relatively easy conference, which was won with a mere 8-8 record repeatedly in recent years.
I think now is the time to check a few thoughts on Peyton Manning that have become conventional wisdom, but are not necessarily true.
1. CW: Manning makes any team an instant Superbowl contender.
Come on, he didn't even make Colts a reliable Superbowl contender. In his 13 full seasons with Colts, he took them to Superbowl 2 times, winning one. His all-time playoff record is 9-10. He may be the guy to lock us into AFC West lead, but his playoff track record is checkered at best. Even Tebow has better playoff winning percentage (although his sample size is really too small for comparison yet).
How would've Broncos performed in 2011 playoffs if Manning led the team instead of Tebow? Nobody knows, but I suspect the outcome would've been the same. We were crushed by Pats, totally blown out. Manning wouldn't be enough to overcome a disparity this big. And he struggled against Pats himself.
2. CW: Manning may become a good mentor to Tebow.
Manning has not shown that he can be a good mentor. None of his backups flourished and went on to have successful career. I'll skip first few years of Manning's career when he may have been considered not seasoned enough to be a mentor. In the last half of Manning's career (7 years), Colts drafted and developed 2 backups to Manning: Sorgi and Painter.
In addition, I suspect Tebow will be traded if we sign Manning. Tebow has trade value now, so trading him will help the team. And Manning and Tebow are so different, they can't quite coexist. They require completely diffrent schemes and support personnel. If we are all-in on Manning, Tebow will simply not fit in any longer.
3. CW: Tebow is important to Broncos because he fills seats and sells jerseys.
If the Manning the GOAT makes Mile High his home, no doubt people will come to watch him. And he is also a natural nice guy, who is universally loved and good for the community. No loss replacing Tebow here.
Make of it what you want. The decision is with the Broncos brass and I think Manning comes to Denver. Get ready for the ride.