At a season-ending press conference on Tuesday, Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway said that the club was operating as if quarterback Peyton Manning would continue to play while preparing for the future.
Elway’s remarks came in response to a question about the challenge of building a roster with the 37-year-old Manning closer to the end than the beginning of his pro career.
“Well, we’re going to keep building like Peyton’s going to be here, and when Peyton decides to hang ’em up, we have expectations hopefully to make that transition,” Elway said. “It’s going to be tough, but we’re going to hopefully be ready for that transition, too.”
During Super Bowl week, Manning indicated he continued to “enjoy playing football,” including the “preparation” for games.
Said Manning one week before the Super Bowl: “I think as soon as I stop enjoying it, if I can’t produce, if I can’t help the team, that’s when I’ll stop playing. If that’s next year, maybe it is. But I certainly want to continue to keep playing.”
After the Super Bowl loss to Seattle, Manning was asked about his future.
“I addressed those (questions) all week long. It doesn’t change anything on those ends as far as I want to do,” Manning told reporters, according to a transcript from the NFL.
Elway was asked whether the Seahawks had something of a roster-construction edge with quarterback Russell Wilson making only a small fraction of what Manning makes. Elway pointed out that the Seahawks had drafted well, too, and that it was on the Broncos to “figure out ways to get the right players” even with Manning having a sizable salary-cap figure.
“I’ll tell you right now — it’s worth it for us to have Peyton Manning,” Elway said.