Could Peyton Manning’s retirement turn into the next Brett Favre’s retirement?
Manning’s 2016 base salary becomes guaranteed on March 9, but there’s still no word from the quarterback on whether or not he’ll call it quits. That means the Broncos will have to choose between promising Manning $19 million and releasing him and will almost certainly choose the latter option, proceeding with Brock Osweiler as their starting signal-caller. The situation is not entirely unlike the one the Packers faced in 2008, when Favre wasn’t sure he wanted to retire but the Packers were committed to moving forward with Aaron Rodgers.
According to Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, the quarterback understands that the Broncos have to make a move soon but won’t necessarily rush into a decision himself. Via Pro Football Talk:
“There’s a time when the contract becomes guaranteed, so they’ll just have to make a move before then,” agent Tom Condon told Dan Sileo of The Mighty 1090 in San Diego on Friday. “He’s completely aware of the guarantee obligation from the club on a date certain, and he knows that there has to be some accommodation prior to that.”
Condon also had some insight into Manning’s thoughts on retirement.
“I couldn’t answer that accurately,” Condon said of whether Manning will retire. “I know better than to ask him. I understand that when he makes up his mind as to what he wants to do, he’s gonna let me know. But as of now, he wanted to take his time and be patient with the decision and make sure that he is sure. . . . Let’s face it, he loves it. He loves being the locker room, he loves working out and of course the interaction with his teammates, and he loves the game.”
From the sound of it, it sounds like Manning wants to keep playing. Of course, it’s not clear he’s capable of continuing to play at the level of an NFL starter, let a lone a star. He limped his way to his second Super Bowl title with the overwhelming help of the Broncos’ incredible defense but would be no guarantee to remain healthy and productive for a full season.
PFT points out one factor that could influence when Manning chooses to announce his retirement: Forcing Denver to release him now could make it easier for him to come back to league in the future.
From a business standpoint, it remains better for Manning to be a free agent than to land on Denver’s reserve/retired list. That way, he can return to the NFL whenever he wants, without having to engineer a release from the Broncos later. By doing nothing over the next few days, Manning will engineer his release sooner.
So maybe Manning is planning on pulling a Favre after all.