When news broke late Thursday night and into Friday morning that Peyton Manning had restructured his contract with the Denver Broncos, it came as a surprise to many. After signing a five-year deal to come to Denver, then leading the team to the AFC’s top playoff seed before a heartbreaking loss to the eventual champion Baltimore Ravens, surely this wasn’t a case of financial issues, or worse, injury concerns?
Well, in a way, it was both of those, but merely a mutual agreement by both parties to protect the team in the future. When Manning signed with Denver last offseason, he agreed to a contract that gave the Broncos several outs in case his surgically repaired neck was to be re-injured. When Manning made it through 2012 with no injuries, then passed a postseason physical, those concerns were allayed for just about everybody.
As reported by NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal, this contract adjustment simply adjusts the Broncos’ insurance in case of a major injury not related to Manning’s previous neck issues. When you consider that Manning is scheduled to make $20 million guaranteed in each of 2013 and 2014, followed by potential salaries of $19 million in 2015 and 2016, this is obviously a smart investment on both parts.
Although this doesn’t make any changes to the salary cap structure of the quarterback’s deal, to me, this shows some great positivity moving forward. Fans of Manning and the Broncos should be happy to see that even though Manning is healthy, he’s still working to help the team have flexibility in the future. If Manning can continue to play at anything like the levels he reached last season, he represents stability the Broncos haven’t had under center since John Elway retired. If, for some reason, he doesn’t, the Broncos won’t find themselves handcuffed financially, either on his contract beyond 2014 (when the team has release options and Manning’s salary isn’t guaranteed) or on any medical costs that may come up.
The bottom line? Manning is still showing a willingness to do whatever it takes to help his team, as he was known for in his days with the Indianapolis Colts. With another offseason to improve with receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, the addition of Wes Welker in the slot and a solid defense looking to make moves in the secondary, things are definitely looking up in the Mile High City.