2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Peyton Manning finalizing contract with Broncos

By ARNIE STAPLETON - AP Pro Football Writer
    2012-03-20 02:25

DENVER (AP) - All that's needed is Peyton Manning's autograph.

After being pursued by teams around the NFL, the QB with four MVP awards is headed to the land of John Elway and Tim Tebow, agreeing to a contract with Denver that could make the Broncos an instant Super Bowl contender. It could also send one of the NFL's most intriguing young players packing.

So much for Tebowmania.

Manning called Elway on Monday morning and told the Broncos executive that he had chosen Denver over the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers in the wildest free-agent chase of the offseason.

The Broncos and Manning's agent then hashed out details of a deal that's expected to be worth about $95 million over five years.

If they can reach an agreement, Manning could sign the deal and be introduced at a news conference as early as Tuesday.

Manning was wooed to Denver by Elway, the former QB who led the Broncos to two Super Bowl championships and now serves as their vice president of football operations. Elway never sounded all that convinced Tebow was the answer at the sport's most important position, and now could trade the hugely popular QB who energized the Broncos in a run to the playoffs last season but was plagued by erratic play.

Manning turns 36 on Saturday and missed the 2011 season because of multiple neck surgeries, which made him expendable to the rebuilding Indianapolis Colts. They cut him March 7 rather than pay a $28 million bonus.

But Manning's success in the past made him a prize that teams from San Francisco to Miami felt they couldn't pass up.

``There's a lot to be excited about,'' Broncos defensive end Robert Ayers, a fellow Tennessee alum, said outside the team's complex Monday. ``Just being on his team is going to make you want to play better.''

By luring the elite QB to Denver, Elway has delivered his biggest victory for the Broncos since he led them to their second straight Super Bowl title in 1999. He retired shortly after that 34-19 win over Atlanta and the Broncos have won just two playoff games since.

Manning won an NFL championship in 2007. And although no starting QB has ever earned a Super Bowl ring for two different teams, when he arrives at the Broncos' headquarters to sign his new deal, Manning at least can see the two Lombardi Trophies in the lobby that Elway won when he was 37 and 38.

Elway returned to the Broncos last year after the franchise hit rock bottom with an embarrassing scandal - the team was caught videotaping a 49ers practice - and a 4-12 season that cost coach Josh McDaniels his job.

It was McDaniels who drafted Tebow with the 25th pick of the 2010 draft.

The big question now facing Elway now is what to do about Tebow, who has three years left on his contract.

Tebow took over a 1-4 team from Kyle Orton last year and led the Broncos to an 8-8 finish and the AFC West crown with a series of stirring comebacks that captured the attention of the football world and beyond.

Tebowmania reached its apex in the playoffs, when he threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on the very first play of overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. The next week, though, Tebow was smothered by the New England Patriots, who easily eliminated the Broncos, 45-10.

Afterward, Elway declared Tebow was the Broncos' starting quarterback heading into training camp this summer but said the southpaw would have to improve his flawed mechanics and footwork to win the job heading into the season.

He also said he'd spent time tutoring Tebow himself and would add more quarterback competition through the draft and free agency.

Did he ever, landing maybe the most sought-after free agent in NFL history.

Several Broncos predicted the free agency floodgates will swing wide open once Manning officially joins the team.

``I think we'll sign some guys, probably a few guys, like Dallas Clark, Jeff Saturday, guys waiting to see what Peyton was going to do,'' Ayers said. ``Defensive guys want to play with a lead, and I'm pretty sure guys are going to assume Peyton will put up points in this offense, we have some weapons.''

Linebacker Joe Mays, who re-upped with Denver for three years and $12 million, said, ``I can't wait to see the finished product and get a chance to go out there and hit the field.''

The whirlwind courtship began two days after Manning stood alongside Colts owner Jim Irsay at an emotional farewell news conference. The Broncos flew Manning into town on a chartered plane and he then spent the day with Elway, coach John Fox and general manager Brian Xanders.

From there, Manning crisscrossed the country in search of a new team, as various clubs chased a guy with more than 50,000 yards passing, nearly 400 touchdowns and 11 Pro Bowl selections. After Denver, next up was a meeting with the Arizona Cardinals, and he also spent time speaking with - or throwing for - the Titans, 49ers and Miami Dolphins.

Last week, Manning worked out for Elway and company in North Carolina at Duke's athletic facilities. Elway said afterward that Manning ``looked comfortable'' throwing the ball.

A few days later, Manning decided he wanted to trade in his Colts horseshoe helmet for one adorned by a Bronco.

The move allows him to stay in the AFC, a conference he knows well and one considered weaker than the NFC at the moment, and would re-establish the tantalizing prospect of playing against his brother, New York Giants quarterback Eli, in a Super Bowl.

They already have three titles in the family - Eli with two. Now the older brother has a chance to even the score.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper chimed in Monday, saying he hoped Tebow wasn't going anywhere and could serve an apprenticeship under Manning.

``He's a young man, right? And a year or two of working under John Elway and Peyton Manning, you know, I'm not sure any other quarterbacks around the country get that opportunity,'' Hickenlooper said.

Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, who was Manning's backup at Tennessee, said he never tried to talk Manning into coming to Colorado but was impressed by the zip on Manning's passes when he worked out with him at Duke earlier this year.

``He was fine. I kept telling him how impressed I was, how far he'd come since he came out after he had surgery,'' Helton said. ``I'm an untrained eye, but I knew it hurt when I caught it.''

With Manning joining the Broncos, oddsmakers in Las Vegas immediately made Denver one of the top choices to win the Super Bowl next season, which will be played in Manning's hometown of New Orleans.

---

AP Sports Writer Pat Graham contributed to this report.

---

Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton on Facebook and http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Miles AustinMar 30 05:32p

Free-agent WR Miles Austin (Browns) signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, March 30. The deal is worth $2.3 million with $700,000 available in incentives, according to a source.

DeMeco RyansMar 30 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles LB DeMeco Ryans (Achilles') said he will be ready for training camp in July after coming back from his second torn Achilles' tendon since 2010. He will [ More ]

Michael HillMar 30 05:02p

Free-agent RB Michael Hill (Colts) signed an undisclosed deal with the Washington Redskins Monday, March 30.

Demaryius ThomasMar 30 02:12p

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas will not be present at the Broncos' offseason program or attend workouts with QB Peyton Manning at Duke University. Thomas is currently in Los Angeles for a charity event.

Jordan TodmanMar 30 01:42p

Free-agent RB Jordan Todman (Jaguars) signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers Monday, March 30. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Miles AustinMar 30 11:42a

Free-agent WR Miles Austin (Browns) will likely sign with the Philadelphia Eagles this week if all goes well with his physical, according to a source.

R. Griffin IIIMar 29 07:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will be the first-team quarterback during offseason workouts, according to head Jay Gruden, but Gruden also said he expects QB Kirk Cousins and [ More ]

Stevan RidleyMar 29 10:12a

Free-agent RB Stevan Ridley (knee) is scheduled to meet with a few teams this week. Ridley is expected to receive full medical clearance in around six weeks.

Andre EllingtonMar 27 07:52p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington, who averaged 20.6 touches per game in 2014 before being injured, won't have his role reduced in 2015, according to head coach Bruce Arians. [ More ]

C.J. AndersonMar 27 07:32p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson, who finished 2014 with 648 rushing yards in the last six games, will enter the 2015 season at the top of the running back [ More ]

Jonathan MartinMar 27 04:32p

San Francisco 49ers OT Jonathan Martin was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers Friday, March 27.

Alan BallMar 27 03:02p

Free-agent CB Alan Ball (Jaguars) signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears Friday, March 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jarrett BoykinMar 27 02:12p

Free-agent WR Jarrett Boykin (Packers) signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers Friday, March 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nick FolesMar 27 01:22p

St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said it's the team's intention to draft a quarterback in this year's draft, despite trading for QB Nick Foles in the offseason. [ More ]

Dont'a HightowerMar 26 08:02p

New England Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder) will miss six to seven months after undergoing surgery on a torn right labrum. Hightower's availability for the beginning of the regular [ More ]

Brian QuickMar 26 06:52p

St. Louis Rams WR Brian Quick (shoulder) is making progress in recovering from a torn rotator cuff and separated shoulder he suffered last October. Head coach Jeff Fisher has [ More ]

Jay CutlerMar 26 06:32p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will head into the offseason as the team's No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart, but head coach John Fox said there will be [ More ]

Danny LansanahMar 26 05:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Danny Lansanah signed his one-year tender Thursday, March 26.

Jonathan MartinMar 26 04:52p

San Francisco 49ers OT Jonathan Martin was waived Thursday, March 26.

Pat SimsMar 26 04:22p

Free-agent DT Pat Sims (Raiders) signed an undisclosed deal with the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday, March 26.

Victor CruzMar 26 01:32p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) 'looks really good and light,' according to head coach Tom Coughlin. Cruz started running last week six months after he tore the [ More ]

D. Heyward-BeyMar 26 11:52a

Free-agent WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (Steelers) re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers Wednesday, March 26. Heyward-Bey signed a one-year deal with the team, but financial terms were not disclosed.

Paul RichardsonMar 26 12:43a

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson (knee) might not be ready for the start of the season, head coach Pete Carroll indicated Wednesday, March 25. Carroll did say Richardson's rehab [ More ]

Blake BortlesMar 25 08:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles received an endorsement from head coach Gus Bradley Tuesday, March 24. Speaking at the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Annual Meetings Tuesday, Bradley [ More ]

Travis KelceMar 25 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce played at roughly 250 pounds in 2014, but head coach Andy Reid wants Kelce to report bigger in 2015, and Reid thinks Kelce [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 25 05:03p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota isn't an option for the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, according to head coach Sean Payton. Payton said [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 04:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is wanted back in Minnesota, but the question is if Peterson wants to come back. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he doesn't believe Peterson [ More ]

Ifeanyi MomahMar 25 03:13p

Free-agent TE Ifeanyi Momah (Lions) signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, March 25. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Terence NewmanMar 25 01:53p

Free-agent CB Terence Newman (Bengals) agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, March 25, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jordy NelsonMar 25 12:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Victor CruzMar 25 11:53a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) could miss the start of the 2015 season with a torn patellar tendon in his knee, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. [ More ]

Josh HillMar 25 11:03a

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is expected to have a bigger role in the offense in 2015. Head coach Sean Payton has mentioned him quite a bit since [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group