The Denver Broncos aren't going to wait around for Peyton Manning forever, even though they want to give him "as much time as he needs" to make the decision. Reports from ESPN say that the timeline for him to announce whether or not he is retiring is about a month.
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At 39 years old, Manning is considered to be too old by many to start again - and they may have a point. Even though he led the team to a 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50, he wasn't around for much of the season due to a tear in his plantar fascia in his left heel. He already took longer to recover than younger players would, leaving many to wonder if he'd even be a good bet when he would obviously be a target for many players.
Still, Manning sells tickets and if he wants time to figure it out, the Broncos and the executive vice president of football/operations and general manager of the team John Elway said that the would let some time for the win to sink in.
"We're going to enjoy this, let Peyton enjoy this,'' Elway said. "I'm sure he'll sit down with his family. Eventually we'll talk to him too and go through that. There's no timeline for that right now.''
Except now we know there is, and it comes next month.
Manning still has a year remaining on his 2012 contract. The $19 million base salary becomes guaranteed on March 9 and the deal counts an astonishing $21.5 million against the salary cap. They would need to know sooner because it could severely impact their hiring and trades for the coming season.
For the last season, the Broncos and Manning agreed to a $4 million pay cut, but didn't touch the 2016 part of the contract. Manning made that $4 million back because they won the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl.
"Important thing is, it's going to be his decision,'' Elway said. "Where we get a chance to sit down and talk to him, that's up to Peyton, where he is in that process, what he thinks he can ... what he wants to do from here on out.''
Elway, who retired after the Broncos won the Super Bowl in 1998, said that he really has a deep understanding of what Manning is going through.
As for his family, they all think that it is time for Peyton to leave so that he can leave while he is on top.
"In talking about retirement, that's what's hard, you can butt up to that line and then crossing that line, taking that final step, saying 'I am moving on,' that is very -- even if that first 99 percent is easy to get to, that last 1 percent is as hard as that first 99 percent ... That's why he's going to have the time he needs and it's basically going to be up to him.''
Manning's father said that he thinks he is done playing in Denver, and that he wouldn't change teams.
"I don't know why Archie [Manning] would say that," Elway said. "We're going to give Peyton plenty of time to think about what he wants to do.''
The other question on many minds is also the status of Von Miller, the Super Bowl MVP - he is slated to be an unrestricted free agent again in March.
The team does have a franchise-player tag that they could use to keep him off the market, a tactic they have used in the past for Ryan Clady, Matt Prater, and Demaryius Thomas. None of those players played under the franchise tag as the Broncos worked out a deal before the season started.
Miller and Elway have both said that they believe talks between the two will be easy and "peaceful."
"The goal is always to get a long-term deal,'' Elway said. "But again back into the same old process of trying to include everybody in what we're looking at, looking at it from the 20,000-foot view of how this team's going to look, not only next year, but two or three years down the line ... our goal is always to be competitive year in, year out.''
Miller overcame adversity to his place now, and he's hopefully going to be a huge player for years to come.
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"I still say it I have not seen a guy more talented physically than Von,'' Elway said. "It was a matter of channeling all of those things in the right way ... I'm extremely happy for him ... I think he's matured, think he's grown up quite a bit. That's a credit to him and the people around him ... he's grown up tremendously, and I think DeMarcus Ware has had tremendous effect on him too, and Von has responded.''