It remains to be seen whether this Sunday’s game against the Panthers will be the last of Peyton Manning‘s playing career, but most people around the league believe it will be his last game as a Bronco, says Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. According to Schefter, the Rams are monitoring the Manning situation, and have had internal discussions about bringing him to Los Angeles if he wants to continue his career.
A report surfaced earlier this week suggesting that Manning has told some friends that he expects to retire following the Super Bowl, and that comes on the heels of the veteran quarterback telling Bill Belichick after the AFC Championship game that this could be his “last rodeo.” However, speaking to reporters this week, Manning downplayed his “last rodeo” comments, and said he’d like to meet the “close friends” who are privy to his plans, suggesting that he hasn’t made a decision on his future yet.
Manning is coming off the least productive season of his long NFL career, and will turn 40 in March. Throw in the fact that he’s owed a $19MM base salary for 2016, and it’s easy to see why he might not be in the Broncos’ plans for next season, even if he decides not to retire. Brock Osweiler is eligible for free agency this winter, and Denver is expected to try to lock him up to a deal that would pay him starter-type money.
If Manning’s career continues somewhere besides Denver, Los Angeles seems like a viable destination — last week, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com identified it as perhaps the most logical potential landing spot for the former first overall pick. From the Rams’ perspective, adding a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback like Manning would help build some buzz as the team moves west from St. Louis. Currently, Nick Foles and restricted free agent Case Keenum are projected to compete for the starting job, so the team could use some veteran help at the position.
In 2015, Manning nearly led the league in interceptions, with 17, despite only playing 10 regular-season games. He also completed just 59.8% of his passes, his lowest mark since his rookie year, and his QB rating of 67.9 was a career worst. However, he has looked a little better in the postseason, having not thrown an interception in wins over the Steelers and Patriots.
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