Everyone assumed that Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning would ride into the sunset after a victory in Super Bowl 50. But not everyone grasps how much Peyton Manning loves playing football.
Not only has Manning not announced his retirement, but there have been recent reports that he’s telling people close to him he still enjoys playing. And when he delivered a speech in Florida on Wednesday night, he sounded like a man who wants to keep playing.
That’s the word from Jeff Darlington of NFL Media, who attended the speech last night and appeared this morning on PFT Live. Darlington said Manning didn’t specifically say whether he’s going to keep playing or not, but he sounded like a man who’s not ready to retire.
“He did talk in present tense when he’s talking about his career,” Darlington said. “He sounds like a guy who still wants to play. He does not sound like a guy who is a week away from retirement.”
The Broncos, however, seem ready to move on from Manning — and it goes without saying that they’re ready to move on from his $19 million salary. Unless Manning is ready to take a huge pay cut, there’s no way he’ll be back in Denver this year. (And he might not be back in Denver even if he’s willing to play for the league minimum.)
So if Manning doesn’t announce his retirement by Tuesday, when his 2016 salary becomes guaranteed, the Broncos will cut him. At that point, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent.
Would any team want him? Would the Rams view him as an upgrade over Nick Foles and Case Keenum? Would the Texans view him as an upgrade over Brian Hoyer? Would Manning be willing to sign for some team that already has a starter in place, and finish his career as a backup? Those questions remain to be answered. But Manning sounds like he wants to find out.