Despite what they’ve said publicly, the Denver Broncos need to know sooner than later whether quarterback Peyton Manning will be retiring. If he’s on the roster as of March 9 under the terms of his current contract, the Broncos will owe Manning $19 million fully guaranteed for 2016.
So the question is whether the Broncos would keep Manning at a reduced rate, if he decides to return for another season. One league source familiar with the organization’s thinking believes that the Broncos don’t want Manning back at any price.
Having Manning back at any price or in any capacity will make it much more difficult to turn the page to Brock Osweiler or, if necessary, someone else.
The next question becomes why haven’t they cut him? They haven’t cut him because they want Manning to come to the conclusion that he’s retiring on his own.
It’s the same reason why they reportedly haven’t begun negotiations with quarterback Brock Osweiler. (Then again, the source contends that negotiations have indeed occurred, but that they are happening discreetly in order to allow the impression to be created that the Broncos are waiting for Peyton.)
And so it all comes back to the original question. Why hasn’t Peyton Manning told the Broncos what he plans to do? If, as Archie Manning said immediately after Super Bowl 50, Peyton is “done in Denver,” why not make it a formality with Denver so that everyone can move on? If he wants an outright release so that he can consider playing for the Rams or anyone else, the Broncos would surely give it to him.
Indeed, they’re eventually going to give it to him anyway, before that $19 million salary becomes completely and totally guaranteed.