Cole has spoken to a number of sources within the Broncos and close to the team, and it’s his understanding that they have concerns about Manning’s health and arm strength moving forward.
On top of that, Manning is scheduled to make a salary of $19 million for the 2015 season.
During Sunday night’s broadcast, CBS announcer Jim Nantz mentioned Manning returning for the 2015 season is no longer a guarantee.
“He actually told us that ‘I’m gonna wait and see, I can’t really in my heart tell you anything for sure right now,” Nantz said. “My intention is to play, but things have changed since I last said that.‘”
This comes less than a month after Manning said that he was planning to be back for another year.
Manning has apparently changed his thinking to some degree as he told reporters after Sunday’s loss to the Colts that he plans to take some time and figure out what he wants to do next year.
A source “very close” to Manning tells Ross Tucker that he believes the veteran quarterback will play again next season.
“I think he’ll be back,” the source said. “He was just emotional after the game because of the disappointment of the loss and everything that went into it. … He just needs to take a month off and get away from it all and he’ll be fine.”
Denver has already begun the process of finding a their next head coach, so there are also questions as to whether or not Manning would want to play for a new coaching staff.
Manning, 38, still has another two years remaining on his five-year, $96 million contract, which includes base salaries of $19 million for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. If he’s still on the team’s roster as of the final day of the 2014 league year, his base salary becomes fully guaranteed..
Manning’s 2014 season ended with him throwing for 4,727 yards while completing 66.2 percent of his passes to go along with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
I know the concerns raised by Cole are legitimate and the fact that Manning is nearly 40 years old makes it hard to assume he’s going to be as effective in the coming years, but his production (when healthy) isn’t just adequate. He’s among the best quarterbacks in the game, even with his deficiencies.
There are indications that the Broncos are prepared to get young and cheaper in terms of their roster, which could make the decision to move on from Manning easier. It’s just not going to be easy to find a quarterback that’s capable of stepping in and coming close to his kind of production next year.
We’ll have more updates regarding the Broncos and Manning as the news is available.