Maybe the Denver Broncos Don’t Want Manning Back
Reports have circulated that Peyton Manning has begun working out with a personal trainer in preparation for the upcoming NFL season. However, it's possible and quite probable he has begun the workout simply to test his body and to see if it is ready, willing, and able to compete for another grinding season.
Broncos' Vice-president John Elway has said publicly he wants Manning back, and the Broncos have indicated they would like his decision by March 9, so they can exercise their rights on his contract if they so choose. Manning has said he won't make a decision until he undergoes a physical examination.
However, CBS Sports quotes Jason Cole of the Bleacher Report as saying "there's a big question about whether the Broncos want to bring him back for one more year." According to Cole, when Manning takes his physical, they could fail him for any reason.
There are questions about Manning's durability following injuries last year late in the season which seem to hamper his effectiveness, though I personally believe there were greater issues. There is also the matter of what good the Broncos could do with the several million dollars they wouldn't be paying Manning for a fourth season. Of course, without a known commodity at the quarterback position, it may not matter what they would do with those millions of dollars.
Brock Osweiler waits in the wings to take over this Bronco offense at the moment of Manning's departure, but whether or not he is ready for that undertaking is anybody's guess. Osweiler's regular season snaps have been extremely limited, and many of the snaps he has played have shown him to be what he is - an inexperienced quarterback.
If Manning does come back for another season, the Broncos will at the very least enter the season as a viable contender to reach the Super Bowl. Without him, the Broncos chances of even making the playoffs seem dim, which could prompt Elway and new head coach Gary Kubiak to clean house and let the new coaching regime rebuild this team from the ground up.
Look at it this way, if Manning doesn't come back and Osweiler turns out to not be the guy, the Broncos stand a good chance of getting a very good quarterback in the 2016 NFL draft. For now, we'll wait for Manning's decision -- or maybe the Broncos' decision.