The Broncos expect quarterback Peyton Manning to hold off on retiring for at least one more season, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (link via Rapoport’s colleague Connor Orr), who says that Denver thinks the future Hall of Famer will play in 2015. Manning, who will be 39 when next season gets underway, could hang it up if the Broncos win the Super Bowl, however.
Per Rapoport, Manning is intent on holding all of the NFL’s passing records before he retires. He recently broke the Brett Favre’s mark for career touchdown passes, but he’s still second to Favre in career passing yards. Manning needs roughly 4,000 more yards to pass the ex-Packer, meaning he could likely break the record at some point in 2015. He also trails Favre in completions, and would need to complete in excess of 500 more passes to surpass Favre. Additionally, Manning isn’t No. 1 in marks like quarterback rating or completion percentage, but he’s probably more interested in accruing counting totals than rate stats.
Manning’s decision will obviously impact the Broncos’ offseason plans — the club attacked free agency earlier this year, adding veterans such as DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, and Emmanuel Sanders as it geared up for at least one more Super Bowl with Manning at the helm. With more than $31MM available in 2015 cap space, Denver would likely take a similar approach next March if Manning decides to play. Of course, Denver will need to retain two of Mannings’ top weapons, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas, but the team would probably use free agency to bolster its roster, especially its linebacking unit and its offensive line.
Manning is in the third year of a five-year, $96MM contract he signed with the Broncos prior to the 2012 season. Neither his ’15 or ’16 base salary is guaranteed, but he’ll obviously earn those salaries as long as he opts to keep playing.