Talk of Peyton Manning returning for his 18th season in 2015 was underway shortly after the conclusion of Super Bowl XLIX. The veteran quarterback was unsure as to whether or not he would to return to the Denver Broncos, but has agreed to return for another year as well as take a pay cut in order to free up cap space to sign key free agents tight end Julius Thomas and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.
Manning’s salary for 2015 was set at $19 million and was restructured to be a more palatable $15 million. While Manning’s wallet may seem a bit lighter, the Broncos have incentivized the $4 million lost by giving the 38-year-old perennial Pro-Bowler $2 million if the Broncos win the AFC Championship and another $2 million if Denver wins the Super Bowl.
Should Manning go on to lead the Broncos to a Super Bowl victory, the $4 million in bonuses would count towards Denver’s 2016 cap numbers. Combine that with Manning’s 2016 salary of $19 million and the Broncos would be paying a 40 year old quarterback $23 million in two years.
Manning was unhealthy for the last month of the 2014, playing through an injured quadriceps that caused his efficiency to suffer and is just four years removed from four neck surgeries that forced the Indianapolis Colts to release him in 2012. Peyton has assured Bronco’s coaches and personnel that he’s physically and mentally ready to play in 2015.
The Broncos went 12-4 last season but had an early exit in the playoffs during the divisional round at the hands of Manning’s former Colts. After three seasons in the books with the Broncos, Manning has compiled a 38-10 record under center during the regular season, losing twice in the divisional round of the playoffs and losing Super Bowl XLVIII to the Seattle Seahawks.