After scanning the horizon for nearly two weeks, quarterback Peyton Manning found his receiver. The NFL’s four-time most valuable player apparently will finish his storied career with the Denver Broncos.
Manning, who sat out the 2011 season recovering from multiple neck surgeries, instructed his agent Monday to hammer out a deal with the Broncos, expected to be in the neighborhood of $95 million over five years – roughly what he would have gotten from Indianapolis had he remained healthy.
That Manning chose Denver over Tennessee and San Francisco will go down as a front-office coup for John Elway, the Broncos’ executive vice president of football operations, whose 2011 team made it to the second round of the playoffs with Tim Tebow at quarterback.
The lengthy process of picking a team had a ripple effect throughout the league. The 49ers now must turn their full attention back to re-signing quarterback Alex Smith, who, after learning his team was secretly pursuing Manning, flew to Miami to meet with the Dolphins.
Tebow almost certainly will be traded, perhaps to Miami or Jacksonville – teams from his home state that are hurting in attendance – or to New England, which might use him as more of a gadget player.
Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams openly spoke of his desire to land Manning, a formidable AFC South rival for many years, and even offered a “lifetime contract,” which would have included a front-office job once Manning’s playing days were done.
Adams issued a statement Monday saying Manning had called to reveal his decision.
“Obviously I am disappointed, because I thought we would be a perfect fit,” Adams said.