According to ESPN, a source close to Peyton Manning is confirming that the future hall of fame quarter is retiring, and save the Denver Broncos the obvious decision of cutting him to avoid paying him $19 million next season.
Manning will retire via a press conference at Broncos headquarters which will put an end to his 19-year career, in which he won two Super Bowls with the Indianapolis Colts and Broncos while winning the regular season MVP five times. He is the all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns, spending the first 13 seasons of his career as the starting quarterback for the Colts, not playing at all in 2011 due to injury, released and then spending four seasons with the Broncos, including making it to a couple of Super Bowls.
But there was no question Manning wasn’t going to be a Broncos player in 2016. The Broncos actually moved on from Manning during a severe beatdown by the Kansas City Chiefs in the regular season, handing the job to Brock Osweiler, who did a decent one, but being a less than perfect quarterback, he did struggle at times. Manning overcoming injuries won him back the starting QB role right before the playoffs, where he left the little he had on the field, including two big passing touchdowns in the AFC championship game against the New England Patriots, slaying his big rival Tom Brady one final time.
There was never any doubt for the Broncos whether to release him or not, after Manning looked washed up for most of the season and even in the Super Bowl. Combine that with the $19 million cap relief they get by releasing him, and it was a no brainer. Manning has been linked with the Los Angeles Rams since the season has ended, but it’s hard to see him being good enough to start for anyone in this league who expects to make the playoffs and do something.
If Manning does indeed announce retirement, it leaves Brady kind of alone after their rivalry pretty much defined the NFL and AFC over the last 15 years, splitting Six Super Bowls between them and overall playing in 10 of them in the last 14 years. Brady will be the oldest starting quarterback in the NFL heading into next season, although his numbers and ability show no sign of him retiring soon. Like Manning though, it might creep up on him without anyone noticing. Manning was bad in 2015, but has basically been on a sharp decline since the second half of the 2014 season, coming shortly after he broke the all-time passing touchdowns record.