While I disagree with the conclusion, this is another great FanPost. Promoted to the front page. - Monty
A career spanning 17 years, the only 5-time MVP in NFL history and one of the most respected men ever to throw a pass in NFL history. He's thrown for 69,691 yards, that's nearly 40 miles! He owns the NFL record with 530 career touchdown passes (and counting?) Any team in their right minds would LOVE to have this man on their roster and would consider themselves a perennial playoff/Super Bowl contender for years with this man serving as the quarterback. Peyton Manning has won Player of the Week awards, earned Pro Bowl appearances, made mediocre receivers look like the second coming of Lynn Swann and Jerry Rice and made average coaches into in-demand coaching talents. If Manning has achieved all of these accolades, why then is his playing a 4th season for the Denver Broncos possibly a bad thing? Let's take a look.
Firstly, let me just say the I am not nor have ever been a big Peyton Manning fan but I have the utmost respect for him. He has blazed a career path that any athlete coming out of college and hoping to play in the NFL as a quarterback would be foolish not to study. He will no doubt go down in history as one do the greatest to ever play this game and he will be spoken of in the same conversation with the likes of Joe Montana, Bart Starr, and even Tom Brady and John Elway. People, he is THAT good. But all good things must eventually come to an end and I believe that the Broncos would be best served by "mutually parting ways" with him now.
The first reason is obviously the huge $19M price tag that comes with having him on the team. Yes, EVERY team in the league has the ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl every year but in order to get there you need more than just a QB. This is not a 29-year-old Peyton Manning. If this was the Peyton Manning from 10 years ago, I may have a different stance but it's not. But even then, in the ultimate TEAM sport, you need more than just ONE player. SOMEONE has to catch his passes, SOMEONE has to give the QB time to throw the passes that need to be caught and SOMEONE needs to run for the first down on 3rd and 5 when you are trailing by 4 points. Without the money to spend on good players to accomplish these things, you are left with average players at best and no team has ever won a championship being average. Demaryius Thomas is looking for a new contract (latest word is that he will be franchise tagged), Julius Thomas is looking for a payday (probably not with Denver), Wes Welker is all but retired and you need some offensive line help. Manning is chewing up $19M that could be better served to solidify the WR ranks, OL, and maybe attract some more free-agents along the way. You don't win anything without a very good TEAM and no ONE player is worth that much money. Every team is also a business and every move has to make business sense. As much as I have respect for him, not even Peyton Manning at this stage in his career is worth that much money.
Tying up that much money on one player also severely hamstrings the team in future. The future of the Denver Broncos is coming faster than many of you may think and there will come a day when Manning does not play anymore for Denver or otherwise. Franchising Demaryius as well as presenting new contracts to others is designed to help not only Manning but whoever follows him to have the best TEAM possible around him to be successful. Can you imagine the tough time that the next QB, be it Brock Osweiler, Zac Dysert, or whoever it may be, will have if their receivers are all 3rd stringers and street free-agents because one man ate up all of the salary the Broncos had to give? It would be David Carr with the Houston Texans all over again. At least with a good team around him, the next Broncos QB has a legit shot to, at the very least, contend in the West. Without quality players, the Broncos would be lucky to get to 3rd place. The Broncos need quality players in order to compete and the only way you are going to get quality players is to pay them.
Lastly, keeping Manning on the roster this year only delays the next era of Broncos football. In 2012, the year Manning came to Denver, the team drafted Brock Osweiler to be the heir apparent. He may not have the sparkling resume that many fans may crave but with 3 years of development and training, he should be able to step in and perform admirably at best. Is he the answer? No one knows but why delay again to find out? If not Brock, maybe it's Dysert. How will we learn if not to see? Popular opinion is that Manning has 1 year and ONLY 1 year left. If that is the case, I would like to start the next era NOW as opposed to putting it off 1 more year and risking losing Osweiler to free-agency before we've even seen him play a full regular season game (although the word is that he may be extended). Even with Manning on the team, the Broncos only have a 1 in 16 chance of making the Super Bowl and only a 1 in 32 chance of winning it. I would love to see the Broncos hoist the Lombardi Trophy this year as much as any one of us but the reality is only 1 team gets to do that. A new coaching staff usually brings with it a change in personnel and philosophy and unless your name is Jon Gruden you don't win the Super Bowl in your first year with a new team. History is not on the Broncos side and as such, I would usher in the new era NOW as opposed to next year when your intended heir may not even be on the team anymore.
In bringing Peyton Manning in at the tail end of his career the Broncos had to know that, at best, they were renting him until his career was over. I always believed that he would never see the full 5 years of his contract and the rumors this week say that the Broncos may be hesitant in bringing Peyton Manning back. Whether its the salary, injury concerns, or his level of play at 39 years of age, the Broncos are right to have questions and anyone would have the same questions if they were investing $19M in something or someone. We as fans have the luxury of just watching our team and rooting them on from a far. We are not in the meeting rooms, we are not involved in personnel and we do not have to make the tough choices for the team. Whatever the choice is, whether Manning plays or not and even if it is indeed HIS choice to make, I hope it's in the best interests of the team and the future. I personally feel the time is now to turn the page.