The Broncos have finally made official (via Twitter) what we’ve known – or at least suspected – for the last several weeks: Peyton Manning will be returning to the team for the 2015 season. Manning was at the team’s facility today to sign his new contract and to take a physical.
As detailed yesterday, Manning has agreed to a deal that reduces his base salary for the coming year from $19MM to $15MM. That extra $4MM will still be available to the future Hall-of-Famer via incentives, but he’d have to reach the Super Bowl to earn any of it — he’ll reportedly receive $2MM if the Broncos win the AFC, and another $2MM if they win the Super Bowl.
Manning, who turns 39 later this month, had another excellent season for the Broncos in 2014, putting up 4,727 passing yards to go along with 39 touchdown passes. However, he was hampered by injuries late in the season and struggled down the stretch, particularly in the team’s divisional playoff loss to the Colts, in which he totaled just 211 passing yards on 46 attempts.
Given the way the season ended, plus the fact that head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase both found new jobs, there was some doubt that Manning would return for another year. However, John Elway, Gary Kubiak, and the Broncos maintained all along that they’d welcome back the former MVP.
Manning’s new deal frees up an extra $4MM in cap space for the Broncos, but that shouldn’t have a significant impact on the team’s plans for free agency. Several key players are set to the open market in a matter of days, including tight end Julius Thomas, defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, safety Rahim Moore, and guard Orlando Franklin.