We’ve heard plenty of rumblings suggesting that Peyton Manning will continue playing next season, and the future Hall of Fame quarterback confirmed as much this afternoon. Speaking at his press conference, Manning said he has every intention of playing in 2015 (via Mike Klis of The Denver Post).
“I certainly plan on being back if the Broncos will have me. At this point I’m thinking about Oakland. I know this is the time when there are conversations about what coaches are going to return. For some reason I guess I get to fall into that category because maybe I’m closer to the same age as some of the coaches. But I have no plans along those lines. I’m enjoying playing and looking forward to Sunday’s game and the game to follow that.”
As Klis points out, the speculation regarding the quarterback’s future is justified. He has two years remaining on the five-year, $96MM contract he signed in 2012, but the next two years aren’t guaranteed. Of course, the non-guaranteed contract would only be important if the Broncos didn’t intend of having Manning back, which doesn’t appear to be the case.
The 38-year-old continues to produce at a high level despite his age. He currently ranks in the top five for most of the major quarterback stats, and he earned his 14th Pro Bowl selection yesterday. However, Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required) suggests that the quarterback is starting to decline. He ranks 13th among qualified quarterbacks, the first time since 2007 that he hasn’t ranked in the top five (excluding the 2011 season).
While Manning is confident he’ll be back, he could return without a couple of key teammates. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas are both set to be free agents, but the organization has continually proven that they’ll do whatever it takes to stay competitive while Manning’s on their team.