Peyton Manning took a $4 million pay cut from the Denver Broncos on March 4. He will return for an 18th NFL season in 2015.
Peyton Manning is returning to the Denver Broncos in 2015.
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According to a March 4 update by The Denver Post's Mike Klis, Manning has taken a $4 million pay cut which reduced his 2015 salary from $19 million to $15 million. The move assures his return for a fourth season in Denver and 18th overall.
In spite of The Denver Post obtaining first-hand information, Manning told Klis he's not one to go into detail about his contract:
"I don't talk about my contract. I never have in 18 years and I'm not going to start now. I've been working real hard and I'm excited to be back with the Denver Broncos. Can't wait for April 13 to get here when the team can finally come together.
"I'm excited to get to work and to get to know the new coaches and looking forward to trying to make 2015 a special year."
Klis adds Manning is scheuduled to take his physical on Thursday, March 5, at Broncos headquaters. Once this is done, he will sign his restructured contract and then meet general manager John Elway. Manning will take the next several weeks off before reporting for team conditioning on April 13.
According to The Denver Post, Manning earned $18 million, $20 million and another $20 million in his first three seasons with the Broncos. He led the team to 13-3, 13-3 and 12-4 win-loss records during that span, including a trip to the Super Bowl during the 2013 NFL season.
Manning can earn the $4 million back through team-based incentives in 2015, per Klis. ESPN's Jeff Legwold and Chris Mortensen reported on Wednesday he can earn $2 million for winning the AFC Championshipg Game and $2 million for winning Super Bowl 50.
The Denver quarterback is also set to earn a non-guaranteed salary of $19 million in 2016, The Denver Post adds.
Klis stresses this is the first-ever pay cut of Manning's illustrious career. The Broncos broached this possibility on Feb. 11, just a little over a week after the New England Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. Manning flew in to Denver from his hometown New Orleans on Broncos owner Pat Bowlen's private jet. The Denver quarterback then sat down with Elway to let him know he wasn't ready to call it a career just yet.
Klis then elaborates on the reason for Manning's restructured deal for 2015: The Broncos are strapped for cash. As a prime example, they are paying Demaryius Thomas, Von Miller and Emmanuel Sanders a combined $20.912 million next season. The Denver Post update says the initial pay cut Elway and Co. first proposed was "far mor severe" than the $4 million Manning agreed to.
"Don't expect the Broncos to re-sign Julius Thomas or Terrance Knighton with the $4 million Manning saved them," per Klis. With Manning's pay cut, the Broncos now have cap room of roughly $20 million.
Manning's new deal comes just after his rival, Tom Brady of the Patriots, was able to negotiate his own. New England offered Brady an up-front payment of $3 million in order to map out his salary scale -- which is "below his market value," per Klis -- as follows: $8 million in 2015, $9 million in 2016 and $10 million in 2017.
Several Broncos are excited to have Manning back, per Klis' colleague at The Denver Post, Troy E. Renck. Pro Bowl running back C.J. Anderson said,"It means a lot -- 18 is a hard worker and a great leader. I am glad to have him back. Now let's win a bowl."
Linebacker Brandon Marshall said,"I am excited. And I know other players appreciate that he was willing to take a pay cut. It allows other players to possibly get paid a little more."
For his part, Pro Bowl cornerback Chris Harris told Renck he is "just really glad" to have Manning back.
Despite his age (he turns 39 on March 24), Manning continues to defy Father Time. His 4,727 passing yards and 39 touchdowns last season were among the NFL's best. For his career, he's been to 14 Pro Bowls and has won five MVP awards -- the most ever in NFL history, per Legwold and Mortensen.
Manning became the league's all-time leader in touchdown passes with he eclipsed Brett Favre's previous record of 508, finishing the 2014 NFL season with 530. Manning now has 69,691 career passing yards and are just a little over 2,000 yards shy of Favre's record of 71,838. Manning's 179 regular-season wins are also just seven shy of Favre's record, per ESPN.
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