Barring a breakdown in contract negotiations the next quarterback of the Denver Broncos will be four time AP NFL MVP Peyton Manning, who earlier today decided to make a phone call to Vice President of Football Operations John Elway informing the Broncos staff of Peyton’s decision to take his talents to the Mile High City. On March 7, 2012 the Indianapolis Colts decided to make their breakup with Peyton Manning official and start the Andrew Luck era without the man who quarterbacked the Colts to a 2006 Super Bowl championship. This move set Peyton up to be the biggest free agent on the market this offseason and today he decided to take himself off the market and make the decision to play out what is most likely the remainder of his career in Denver, after reportedly investigating potential suitors the San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans as well as potentially the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins among others. It’s being reported that Manning will sign for around $95 million for a 5 year contract, but the specifics are still being worked out.
What does this move all mean? Well, first for the Broncos (assuming Peyton is healthy enough to play) their offense got instantly better the moment that Peyton picked up that phone and let the Broncos know his decision. Peyton Manning is one of the truly elite quarterbacks in the National Football League and is one of those players that make everyone else around him better by association. The Broncos already had one of the best defenses in the league last year and with the offense sustaining drives and putting up points more often next season that defense can only improve as they’ll finally get a breather on the sideline between possessions. The Broncos receivers will also love knowing that they will be getting more reps and better chances to catch the ball as Peyton loves to sling it and his accuracy is one of the biggest upgrades over Tim Tebow, whose favorite play is the deep ball (chuck and pray). Broncos running backs also probably won’t be facing 8 or 9 men in the box next year because if defenses decide to stack the box against Manning he will just audible out and make them pay for trying to stuff the run so hardcore.
Now the question is what to do with the Broncos current quarterback, Timothy Richard Tebow, who after taking over for Kyle Orton during the season led the team to a 7-4 record down the stretch and an improbable playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime before falling to the New England Patriots in their next game. The rumor is that the Broncos will aggressively try to trade Tebow as soon as the Manning signing becomes official, as John Elway and Head Coach John Fox have never truly pledged their support to Tebow and may have seen him as a distraction that is not needed any longer. It will be interesting to see how this plays over the course of this week and into the rest of the offseason, but the short list of teams who may be interested in Tebow’s services include the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins who at the very least could sign Tebow to try to sell more tickets to Gator fans in the area. Also on that list is unfortunately the New England Patriots as Coach Belichick is friends with Tebow’s college coach Urban Meyer and also the newly re-appointed Offensive Coordinator for the Pats is Josh McDaniels who is the man responsible for drafting Tebow with the 25th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft while the Head Coach of the Broncos.
Peyton’s decision today is one that will have a wide-ranging impact on the entire National Football League landscape for the 2012-2013 season and beyond, and it also injected more drama into this already interesting off-season. Congratulations to the Denver Broncos for winning this sweepstakes and bringing in one of the NFL’s best and for the sake of the league let’s all hope that he remains healthy and keeps us entertained on Sundays. I’m just thankful we will never see another #18 for the Indianapolis Colts.