Peyton Manning

This Date In Transactions History: Peyton Manning Retires From NFL

Prepare to feel old, because it’s been five years since Peyton Manning‘s retirement. In 2016, the quarterback left the game as a two-time Super Bowl champion, the NFL’s all-time leader in total wins, and one of the sport’s greatest quarterbacks of all time.

Manning spent the first 14 seasons of his remarkable career with the Colts. Then, came his neck surgery in 2011, followed by spinal fusion surgery. He’d miss out on the entire ’11 campaign, snapping his streak of 208 consecutive regular season starts. After months of rehab, Manning said he could barely throw a football ten yards. Many feared that he was finished at this point, but Manning disagreed. Ditto for the Broncos, who were happy to furnish him with a lavish contract in 2012.

The Broncos backstopped Manning by drafting Brock Osweiler in the second round of the 2012 draft, but it’d be a while before he took the reins. Instead, Manning went on to enjoy a four-year stint in Denver. He completed 66.5% of his passes for 17,112 yards and 140 touchdowns against 53 interceptions. Along the way, he picked up three of Pro Bowl nods, two First-Team All-Pro selections, yet another MVP award, and yet another Super Bowl ring.

When all was said and done, Manning set new watermarks for total wins by a QB (200), passing yards (71,940), and passing touchdowns (539). He also set the record for most single-season TD tosses (55; 2013). All in all, the No. 1 overall pick of the 1998 draft managed 14 Pro Bowl bids, seven First-Team All-Pro selections, and five MVP trophies. Needless to say, he could have called it quits in 2011 and still walked away as one of the NFL’s GOATs. That’s doubly true when considering his lifetime earnings of $250MM+ — not counting his piles of endorsement checks. Still, Manning wanted to go out on his terms, and he did just that.

Manning wasn’t at his personal best in his final season, but he was good enough while teamed with the league’s most feared defense. A few weeks after hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, Manning closed the book on his Hall of Fame career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Rumors: Adams, Manning, Broncos

Jets safety Jamal Adams has submitted a trade request and may well have issues with Adam Gase — months after voicing frustration with GM Joe Douglas listening to offers at last year’s trade deadline. However, Jets DC Gregg Williams came to the All-Pro’s defense Thursday.

He has to handle his contract,” Williams said, via the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta. “He’ll do all that kind of stuff. … I’m hoping everything goes well. I love coaching him. And I got his back.

“… I think the world of him. I’ve had a chance to coach a lot of really good players. Some that are already in the Hall of Fame. And many others that are going to go in the Hall of Fame. And he’s going to have a legitimate chance staying healthy to be one of those guys later on that we’ll all talk about.”

The second-year Jets defensive boss added that he wants Adams to “feel good about being here.” Given the events of the past eight months, that will take some doing. Here is the latest from the AFC:

  • Were the Jets to trade Adams, they do have rookie third-rounder Ashtyn Davis as a candidate to replace him alongside contract-year starter Marcus Maye, Connor Hughes of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The Jets were also interested in Tony Jefferson before he signed with the Ravens in 2017 and a month before they drafted Adams. Jefferson is back in free agency after Baltimore released him earlier this year. Eric Reid also remains unsigned, providing some options if the Jets seriously entertain trading their top player.
  • Bryce Callahan‘s injury altered the Broncos‘ cornerback plans last season, forcing slot dynamo Chris Harris to play almost exclusively on the outside. Callahan has recovered from his latest bout of foot trouble, and the Broncos are hoping to play him in the slot, per The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala. Denver still appears thin at corner, but Jhabvala adds the team hopes third-round rookie Michael Ojemudia can seize the outside corner job opposite A.J. Bouye. That may be difficult, however, with Vic Fangio using a complex scheme and the Broncos having seen multiple third-round corners (Brendan Langley and Isaac Yiadom) struggle in recent years.
  • Peyton Manning has said years ago he was close to signing with the Titans, but the Broncos won out for the future Hall of Fame quarterback. Discussing the fallout from Manning’s 2012 free agency, ex-Titans exec Mike Reinfeldt said the acclaimed passer’s timetable affected the Titans’ plans. “The only thing I wished had happened was that Peyton could have made the decision earlier,” Reinfeldt said, via The Athletic’s Mike Sando. “But I don’t know that he was in position to do so because of his health. … There is no magic way to build a team, but what you can’t do is get caught in between one plan and the other plan. That is what happened to us.” The Titans earmarking Manning money during the first week of free agency, and then waiting on the ex-Colt’s decision, caused them to miss out on pursuits of Mario Williams and Pro Bowl guards Carl Nicks and Ben Grubbs, with Sando adding each was a target of then-GM Ruston Webster. Tennessee finished 6-10 in 2012 and would not post a winning season again until 2016.

NFC East Notes: Manning, Adams, Cowboys

Peyton Manning‘s decision to sign with the Broncos eight years ago changed the franchise’s trajectory, but the future Hall of Famer did not get the chance to strongly consider a team that would likely have been on his list. While it is not certain the Redskins would have beaten out the Broncos, the presence of Mike and Kyle Shanahan would have given Washington a key selling point. The then-free agent passer met with the Shanahans while in Denver to watch film, and Manning indicated he was “very impressed” with Kyle — then Washington’s OC. Mike Shanahan, then in his third year as Washington’s HC, confirmed the franchise was interested in Manning when the Colts released him on March 7, 2012. But in between Manning’s Colts exit and his Broncos commitment, the Redskins sent the Rams a monster haul for the No. 2 overall pick.

I had known Mike for a long time, played for him in a Pro Bowl, and we’ve stayed in touch, and so I felt comfortable talking to them,” Manning said in an expansive piece on his 2012 free agency by The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, Lindsay Jones and others (subscription required). “But they had made a trade for the second pick of the draft, which they ended up taking Robert Griffin III. So as soon as they made that trade, even Mike kind of knew that eliminated them. It just wasn’t going to make sense.”

The Redskins-Rams trade became official March 13 — three days after the Manning-Shanahans film session took place, per The Athletic — but the teams agreed to the deal March 9. Years later, John Elway informed his former head coach he believed the Redskins may have held more appeal than the Broncos ultimately presented in the Manning sweepstakes.

I think Peyton was disappointed,” Mike Shanahan said. “Kyle and I were kind of surprised that he still wanted to meet with us. I can remember talking with Elway one time not too long ago, a few years ago. He said, ‘Mike, do you realize that Peyton, I think, was going to go to your place? I think he really wanted to go to your place more than our place.’”

Shifting back to the current NFL landscape, here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • A report last week indicated the Cowboys reside on Jamal Adams‘ list of preferred trade destinations, and the Jets safety confirmed he will try to make a Dallas venture happen. In a short response to a fan, an in-transit Adams said he will try to maneuver his way to the Cowboys, via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). The Jets have yet to indicate they will honor Adams’ trade request. Adams wants a monster extension, but were the fourth-year defender to be dealt to Dallas, he may not be as demanding for an new deal this year.
  • Although the Eagles re-signed Rodney McLeod and agreed to terms with Jalen Mills with the intention of moving him to safety, Geoff Mosher of InsidetheBirds.com views an Adams-to-Philadelphia path as an ideal match. The Eagles made a big splash at corner, giving Darius Slay a lucrative extension that essentially doubles as a two-year pact. But they remain $24MM-plus under the cap, providing intriguing flexibility on this front. However, the Jets having Adams under contract through 2021 gives them leverage in against the disgruntled defender.
  • With Dak Prescott signing his franchise tender, the Cowboys are now the only team with three players — Prescott, Amari Cooper and DeMarcus Lawrence — earning $20MM per year, per ESPN Stats & Info’s Evan Kaplan (on Twitter). Cooper’s deal averages $20MM per year, but the Cowboys can get out of it — if need be — fairly easily by 2022. Prescott is tied to a $31.4MM payment, and the Cowboys have barely three weeks to extend him.

Jets Didn’t Contact Peyton Manning

Shortly after the firing of Mike Maccagnan, it was widely rumored that the Jets had their sights set on Peyton Manning as a potential candidate to take over the GM job. However, Manning says he never heard from the club about the position (Twitter link via Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post). 

Nobody ever contacted me … And I’m not sure I was qualified anyway,” Manning said after playing a round of golf with Tiger Woods in Ohio.

There have been conflicting reports on Manning’s interest level in taking on a GM job. Recently, a source told Ralph Vacchiano of SNY that he would not want to pursue such an opportunity, but Manning has indicated in the past that he would want to consider GM openings. Either way, Manning won’t be the next GM of the Jets, despite his relationship with head coach Adam Gase.

Manning apparently isn’t on the Jets’ radar, but we know of five candidates who definitely are: Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas, Seahawks co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer, Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly, Vikings assistant GM George Paton, and Saints director of pro scouting Terry Fontenot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Who Should Jets Hire As GM?

It’s been 10 days since the Jets suddenly fired general manager Mike Maccagnan, leaving a major hole atop their front office. Yesterday, we finally got some clarity on definitive candidates, as the organization requested interviews with Eagles executive Joe Douglas and Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly.

Following reports of tension between Maccagnan and head coach Adam Gase, Kelly would seemingly be a good choice. The two have a history that dates back to their tenures with the Broncos, with Denver earning four division titles during Kelly’s five seasons as Assistant Director of Pro Personnel. Kelly also played a role in signing eight veteran free agents who would go on to earn Pro Bowl nods with the Broncos.

The executive has spent the past four years with the Bears, including the last two as the team’s Assistant Director of Player Personnel. In this role, Kelly has directed both Chicago’s pro personnel and college scouting departments. Kelly was one of the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s recommended GM candidates this offseason, but he didn’t get an interview in the thick of the cycle.

Despite Gase’s connection to Kelly, Douglas is reportedly his top choice for the position. Douglas spent the past three seasons as the Eagles’ vice president of player personnel, and he played a major role in constructing the Super Bowl LII-winning roster. Douglas had a brief stint with the Bears in 2015 after having spent the previous 16 years with the Ravens. Douglas is expected to be choosy when it comes to his next opportunity. Many pundits are questioning the Jets’ power structure given the timing and nature of Maccagnan’s firing, so it’s uncertain if Douglas would be willing to take on the challenge.

Besides Kelly and Douglas, the Jets have also been connected to Peyton Manning. Following Maccagnan’s firing, there were rumblings that the Jets were eyeing the future Hall of Fame quarterback for the open GM gig. However, subsequent reports have indicated that the notion of Manning becoming the Jets’ GM is “unrealistic,” with a source stating that being an NFL GM is “not a job he seems to want.”

Of course, there’s also Gase, who earned the interim GM tag following Maccagnan’s ouster. The head coach has been relatively busy since taking on the job; he’s moved on from a pair of former draft picks (tight end Jordan Leggett and linebacker Darron Lee), and he’s added wideout Deonte Thompson. There were reports that Gase was opposed to Le’Veon Bell‘s lucrative contract, and the organization’s apparent trust in their head coach indicates that he’ll surely have a say in future transactions (assuming he doesn’t maintain the GM role).

There are a number of additional candidates who could emerge in the coming days. We learned earlier this week that Gase would be receptive to a number of GM hires, including the 49ers’ Adam Peters and the Lions’ Lance Newmark. Additionally, Jets ownership is believed to “think highly” of Vikings exec George Paton.

So that brings us to today’s question: who should Christoper Johnson hire as the team’s next GM? Should they bring on Douglas, Kelly, or another executive from outside the organization? Should they take a flyer on Manning, who has no front office experience? Should they allow Gase to maintain control over the 53-man roster?

Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Rumors: Jets, Manning, Dolphins

The Jets reportedly want to hire Peyton Manning as their next GM, but it doesn’t sound like the retired quarterback is interested in the job. The latest word on that front comes from Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, who hears from a source close to Manning that the notion of him becoming the Jets’ GM is “unrealistic” and being an NFL GM is “not a job he seems to want.”

Even though the 43-year-old doesn’t have any official front office experience, this isn’t the first time that he has been connected to a top job. In 2017, it was said that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam had interest in hiring Manning to a prominent executive role. He’s also indicated in the past that he would be open to such opportunities.

I like to listen in on any number of potential chapter two opportunities in my life,” Manning said in July of 2018. “I talked to some TV people and teams on the football side of it. I like listening, and it seems like people are reporting when I’m doing it.

Meanwhile, there’s conflicting word on whether the Jets have Manning on their radar for the GM job in the first place. Ultimately, it seems unlikely that Manning will be tapped to replace Mike Maccagnan and be the man to remove the interim GM tag from Adam Gase‘s title.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Gase says that he only wants to focus on being the Jets‘ head coach, but he fired Jets scout Bill Dekraker on Tuesday and told those around him that he wants to streamline the scouting department, Manish Mehta of the Daily News (on Twitter) hears.
  • The cap hits on cornerback Xavien Howard’s new six-year, $76.5MM deal are as follows (via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald): $10.3MM this season, $13.3MM, $13.5MM, $14.4MM, $13.4MM, and $12.2MM. With his new deal, Howard is the only Dolphin under contract past 2022. But, even with that deal, the Dolphins are still in line to have more than $105MM in cap space next offseason.
  • Danny Shelton‘s deal with the Patriots is for one-year with a signing bonus of $75K, a base salary of $805K and bonuses/incentives worth up to $150K (Twitter link via Field Yates of ESPN.com). All in all, Shelton will carry a modest cap charge of just over $1MM.

Latest On Jets’ Star Players, GM Search

Rich Cimini of ESPN.com passes along a number of interesting notes about the Jets this morning, including a few thoughts and reports on the futures of certain key players and the team’s hunt for a new GM.

For instance, Cimini reports that there is already speculation in league circles that head coach/interim GM Adam Gase is looking to move on from defensive lineman Leonard Williams. That does not mean that Gase wants to trade or cut Williams in 2019, but it sounds as though the new regime would be perfectly willing to allow Williams to sign elsewhere when he becomes a free agent at the end of the year. Cimini suggests that the club could franchise tag Williams or execute a tag-and-trade, but a long-term deal with the Jets does not seem likely at this point.

With respect to Le’Veon Bell, whose signing was a factor in the deteriorating relationship between Gase and former GM Mike Maccagnan, Cimini says it would not be surprising to see the Jets trade Bell after the 2019 season. If they cannot find a trade partner, then Bell can easily be cut after the 2020 season, when all of his guaranteed money will have been paid.

Robby Anderson‘s future with the club is more straightforward. Gase appreciates Anderson’s talent, and if the big-play wideout has a strong 2019, he could be back with Gang Green on a multi-year pact. If he disappoints, he will be gone.

And as far as the club’s GM search is concerned, Cimini says that the rumors connecting Peyton Manning to the job have no substance and that Manning is not on the Jets’ radar at the moment (which jibes with a report from yesterday). Cimini also hears that Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas remains the odds-on favorite for the job. Douglas has been billed as the front-runner since Maccagnan was fired.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Manning Unlikely To Consider Jets Job?

One name certainly overshadows the others thus far connected to the Jets GM job. However, the Jets may be the latest team Peyton Manning turns down.

Connected to positions with other franchises since his retirement, Manning was mentioned as a target in Gang Green’s GM search. But the future Hall of Famer is not viewed as likely to be interested in the position, Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com tweets.

Manning has been linked to jobs with multiple teams — including the Browns and Colts — but neither process seemed to advance too far. This one may not move past the interest stage, either.

The former Colts and Broncos quarterback was also believed to be a target to be part of ESPN’s post-Jason Witten Monday Night Football booth, but that did not come to fruition. Manning, 43, is working with ESPN on multiple other projects, however. Manning’s ESPN work has represented his most public role since retiring in March 2016.

However, he did advocate for Adam Gase to land the Jets’ HC job this year. If Manning were to take a GM post, working with Gase would seem like a fit on the surface. The Jets, though, have taken plenty of heat for their mid-offseason ouster of Mike Maccagnan and are run by a relatively new CEO, Christopher Johnson. Several Jets sources told the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta they do not exactly have confidence in their current boss’ ability to run a football team.

As for the other executives connected with New York’s GM vacancy, Robinson adds the Eagles have not been contacted about an interview with VP of player personnel Joe Douglas in what’s been a “quiet” search thus far. A former Gase coworker in Chicago, Douglas has been labeled the early favorite.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Interested In Peyton Manning For GM?

The Jets made news earlier in the week when they fired general manager Mike Maccagnan following free agency and the draft. They could make even bigger news with his replacement, as the team is reportedly interested in filling the role with Peyton Manning, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio writes

Florio reports that “rumors are flying within league circles” that the team intends to make a run at the future Hall of Fame quarterback, who has ties to new head coach Adam Gase from their time together in Denver. Earlier in the week, Jets CEO and chairman Christopher Johnson told reporters that he wants “a great strategic thinker” for the position rather just a player evaluator.

“I want a great manager, a communicator, who can collaborate well with the building. I’m convinced we’re going to find that person,” he said.

If they want an excellent communicator and a strategic thinker, Manning would seem to be a good fit. One thing remains to be seen and that’s if Manning has any interest in the job. Long thought of for a front-office role or as a commentator on Sundays, Manning undoubtedly has had plenty of opportunities open to him if he wants to get back into the game.

If these rumors turn out to be true and the two sides work to a deal, Manning would be joining a team looking for a fresh start with a young, promising quarterback in Sam Darnold already in tow. Even with a few intriguing pieces, the Jets remain the only team in the NFL to not win at least six games in any of the last three seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: White, Jets, Broncos, Ravens

One of the top defenders available in a defense-heavy prospect pool, Devin White has begun to set up pre-draft visits. The Giants, Bengals and Buccaneers will host the LSU-developed linebacker, Amie Just of NOLA.com notes. All three teams pick in the top 11, and White has been often mocked to be off the board in between the Bucs’ No. 5 pick and the Bengals’ No. 11 choice. Although the Giants could use a young inside linebacker alongside Alec Ogletree, they have been linked to pass rushers at No. 6 — if they don’t, in fact, select their next quarterback then. The Bengals have a need on their defensive second level, which now lacks Vontaze Burfict. Tampa Bay lost Kwon Alexander but still has Lavonte David. Kendell Beckwith, White’s college teammate, missed all of last season.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • Peyton Manning has advocated for Adam Gase on a few occasions, and he did so again to help steer Trevor Siemian to Gase’s current team. Siemian signed with the Jets this week. Siemian said (via Ethan Greenberg of NewYorkJets.com) his decision came down to, like Anthony Barr‘s, New York or Minnesota. After exchanging texts with Manning, the new Jets backup indicated his former teammate’s belief in Gase remains. This and other factors helped the fifth-year quarterback choose the Jets. Manning played three seasons under Gase, setting multiple high-profile records in 2013. Siemian did not arrive in Denver until the Gary Kubiak regime, however. The Vikings were interested in bringing back Siemian and have yet to sign a replacement QB2, though that is the goal.
  • The Broncos are not planning to bring back Domata Peko, their nose tackle of two seasons. Although Shelby Harris has not yet signed his second-round RFA tender, the Broncos plan to make the emerging interior lineman their starting nose, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post notes. Harris graded as, by far, Denver’s best defensive lineman last season, per Pro Football Focus, but played the fewest snaps (391) of anyone in the team’s five-man rotation. Four of those players (Harris, Derek Wolfe, Adam Gotsis and the recently re-signed Zach Kerr) remain, but it looks like Harris — PFF’s No. 9 overall inside defender — will see more time in 2019.
  • Viewed as a possible first-round pick, N.C. State alum Garrett Bradbury may be benefiting from what is a weak center class. The interior blocker might not be a lock for Round 1, with Matt Miller of Bleacher Report having spoken with just one scout that views him as a first-round talent. Bradbury, a three-year starter for the Wolfpack, grades as the NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s No. 22 overall prospect.
  • The Ravens do not have openings at kicker or punter, but the team has versatile specialist Kaare Vedvik on its roster for potential trade purposes. “I fully expect that he’ll kick well enough for us to trade him. That’s kind of, I would say, the goal,” John Harbaugh said this week (via Clifton Brown of BaltimoreRavens.com). Teams were interested in acquiring Vedvik during the 2018 preseason, when he made 8 of 9 field goal tries — including a 56-yarder — but the Norwegian kicker/punter who kicked at Marshall in college suffered injuries from an assault on Sept. 1 of last year. He spent the season on the Ravens’ NFI list.