Finally. Finally. Finally. The rumors and hearsay can finally be put to rest. After spending 13 years with the Indianapolis Colts, winning a Super Bowl while also missing all of the 2011 season with a neck injury (blew a 4th round pick on that one), Peyton Manning has finally put all the rumors to rest after it was announced that he is expected to sign a new deal with the Denver Broncos sometime Monday. (UPDATE: Manning and the Broncos have agreed on a 5 year, $96 million deal Tuesday morning.)
It comes as a bit of a surprise after it was reported that one of Manning's considerations for playing on a new team was that he didn't want to play in cold weather. But considering the Rocky Mountains get dumped on during the Winter season, money definitely played a big role in Manning's decision.
So what does this do for the Broncos? It should easily make them the early favorite to repeat in a weak AFC West division. The Chargers, Chiefs and Raiders all made and will make moves this offseason, but adding Manning to the mix trumps everything. The move should also propel the Broncos as one of the favorites in the AFC amongst teams like the Patriots, Steelers, Ravens and Texans.
But outside of the team dynamics, Peyton going to Denver will give a huge boost to the team's offensive weapons. It'd be hard seeing him put up the numbers he did in Indianapolis prior to last season, but he has plenty of players around him to work with. Last year's surprise Willis McGahee should have more running room now that defenses have to keep tabs on the passing game, which was hit and miss in 2011. The Broncos have two young/talented receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Both of which have shown they can be effective, including Thomas who racked up 25 catches and two 100+ yard outings in the last five games last season.
The Broncos had been wanting to find a replacement for Tim Tebow. Maybe John Fox and John Elway didn't want to admit it, but Tebow simply isn't the type of quarterback who is going to take that next step in the NFL. I will get berated big time for saying that, but I just don't see Tebow as anything more than a glorified gadget player. Expect the Broncos to put Tebow on the trade block and for a team to take a chance on him, but there is no way the Broncos are going to get back the first-round pick they used on Tebow back in the 2010 draft.
Broncos fans may have loved Tim Tebow last year, but I think landing Peyton Manning is a nice consolation prize.