By Sean Sarcu @seansarcu on June 22, 2014
The question of when Peyton Manning will retire has been hanging in the air around the Denver Broncos' QB for quite a while now, stretching as far back as his time recovering from injury in 2011 while still a member of the Indianapolis Colts. He will play in 2014, but the future for Manning remains murky beyond that point. Here are five reasons why he shouldn't retire until after the 2016 season when his contract with the Broncos expires.
Denver's offense is coming off a record-shattering season, and most key pieces from that group will stay with the Broncos as long or longer than Manning does. Demaryius Thomas is in contract negotiations with the Broncos and John Elway has said that they are looking to lock him in on a long-term deal prior to training camp later this summer. Manning will have a lot to work with.
John Elway is very aware that Manning is nearing retirement, and he has put the roster together accordingly. The Broncos signed three of the best free agents on the market in T.J. Ward, DeMarcus Ware and Aqib Talib. Manning is all but guaranteed to have a talented roster oriented in "win-now" mode as long as he stays in the league.
The key to any quarterback's health is a good offensive line, and Denver's looks to be solid. The Broncos will get Ryan Clady — one of the best left tackles in the league, who's signed through 2017 — back from injury next season. Protecting Manning will be paramount, and the Broncos will be able to do a good job of that.
The worry about Manning is and will always be his neck, which he has had nearly half a dozen surgeries on. He passed his 2014 physical, however, and is by all accounts in close to the best shape of his career. His age and past injuries have limited Manning as a vertical threat, but he is healthy, and that is a major reason to plan to play out the rest of his contract.
For all his regular season greatness, Manning has just one Super Bowl ring. Retiring after the 2016 season would allow him three more opportunities (with what looks to be an absolutely loaded Broncos team) to add to his championship case. The only legitimate thing keeping Manning from being labeled the best quarterback of all time is his relative lack of postseason success. One more Super Bowl win or two would do a lot to change that.
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