We’ve heard much more about Peyton Manning’s ankle than his neck this season. But we could be hearing plenty about his neck in the coming offseason.
As explained by Chris Mortensen of ESPN, Manning will have an offseason examination of his neck to check its stability following two years of football. Which followed a quartet of neck surgeries.
Per Mortensen, if there’s an increased risk of injury, Manning will be forced to decide whether to retire.
The exam undoubtedly flows from the guaranteed money Manning is due to receive in 2014. Under his contract, he gets $20 million next year unless he can’t play due to a neck injury. If Manning can’t play due to any other injury, he gets the $20 million — and the Broncos get $10 million in insurance proceeds.
The possible donut hole comes from a neck injury that keeps Peyton from playing in 2014, but that isn’t related to the neck condition for which he previously had four surgeries. That could lead to a disagreement over whether Manning gets the $20 million.
Regardless, the examination shouldn’t be regarded as anything ominous. This is more about the Broncos protecting their $20 million investment than it is about Peyton assessing whether he should retire.
But if he has to retire due to a recurrence of the neck problems that wiped out his 2011 season, the Broncos will owe him nothing in 2014.