In the end, the Indy connection was limited to the likes of Jacob Tamme and Brandon Stokley. Stokley realizes that his career was rejuvenated thanks to Peyton, and Stokley hopes to give it one more go in Denver.
“I think we’ll relax for a little while, but my plan is to get back to work and hopefully play another year,” Stokley told reporters on Sunday, a day after a sudden and disappointing playoff loss to Baltimore.
“I love this group of guys in this locker room and the receivers that we had — it couldn’t have been better. It was just a lot of fun. I had so much fun. Like I said, it’s about the only thing I do halfway decent.”
Stokley realizes that Manning’s decision to play in Denver had a lot to do with Stokley playing there, or anywhere.
“Without him, I wouldn’t have played this year, there’s no doubt,” Stokley said. “I’d be retired, probably about 20 pounds heavier, so, yeah, I owe him a lot for this year and a lot for my career in general. Coming from Baltimore, going to Indy, that kind of sparked my career, playing with him. Yeah, I owe the guy a lot.”
Not as much as the Broncos owe Peyton over the next two years. And that fact that he’s due to earn $20 million in 2013 on a cap that won’t go up much if at all above $120.6 million means that the Broncos will need guys like Stokley to sign a one-year veteran minimum deal at a reduced cap number.