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

Morgan BurnettJul 31 09:42a

Green Bay Packers FS Morgan Burnett (ankle) and SS Tanner Miller (undisclosed) are not practicing Thursday, July 31.

Nate GarnerJul 31 08:53a

Miami Dolphins C Nate Garner is working with the first-team offense again Thursday, July 31, over C Shelley Smith.

Allen RobinsonJul 30 10:13p

Updating a previous report, Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson (and fellow rookie WR Marqise Lee) have seen plenty of opportunity at training camp with WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and [ More ]

Andre JohnsonJul 30 12:33p

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson (hamstring) did not participate in practice Wednesday, July 30. Head coach Bill O'Brien has said the team is being cautious with Johnson.

Joe LooneyJul 30 12:13p

San Francisco 49ers OG Joe Looney has been working with the first-team offense at guard in place of OG Alex Boone and has looked good during practices.

Allen RobinsonJul 30 11:53a

Jacksonville Jaguars WRs Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson have looked comfortable and consistent in the early part of training camp, according to John Oehser.

Nate GarnerJul 30 11:03a

Miami Dolphins C Shelley Smith and C Nate Garner are splitting reps with the first-team offense at center Wednesday, July 30.

Clay HarborJul 30 10:53a

Updating previous reports, Jacksonville Jaguars TE Clay Harbor (calf) will be out for a month due to the calf injury he suffered earlier in the week.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 30 10:43a

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) is expected to be out at least another week, although tests on his hamstring came back negative Tuesday, July 29. The [ More ]

Marquis FlowersJul 30 10:33a

Cincinnati Bengals DT Geno Atkins (knee) and LB Marquis Flowers (hamstring) were activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

David WilsonJul 30 10:13a

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) will sit out of practice the rest of the week and won't play in the first preseason game. He underwent tests Tuesday, [ More ]

Lardarius WebbJul 30 08:33a

Baltimore Ravens CB Lardarius Webb (back) had recent examinations reveal no structural damage to his back. It's believed to be a muscular problem that will require rest and rehabilitation. [ More ]

Chris RaineyJul 30 02:13a

LB Darrin Kitchens (Bills), OT Chris Faulk (Browns), PK Jake Rogers (Browns), OT Aslam Sterling (Broncos), RB Chris Rainey (Colts), WR Gerald Ford (Dolphins), OT DeMarcus Love (Giants) and [ More ]

Ricky SappJul 30 02:03a

The Houston Texans released LB Ricky Sapp (undisclosed) from their Non-Football Injury list Tuesday, July 29. Sapp is free to sign with any team.

Demarcus LawrenceJul 30 01:33a

Dallas Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence (foot) suffered a broken foot Tuesday, July 29, and he will need eight to 10 weeks recovery time, according to a source.

Brandon PettigrewJul 30 12:53a

Detroit Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew and the other tight ends have split time between working on the offensive line and working with the pass-catching receivers and running backs catching [ More ]

Corey HilliardJul 30 12:53a

Detroit Lions OTs Corey Hilliard and LaAdrian Waddle appear to be getting an equal shot at the starting right tackle job. Hilliard worked with the first-team offense Monday, July [ More ]

Kevin OgletreeJul 30 12:53a

Detroit Lions WR Kevin Ogletree has been spent time on the top unit each of the first two days of training camp, working as the No. 3 receiver. He [ More ]

Jason HatcherJul 30 12:13a

Washington Redskins DE Jarvis Jenkins said the team's signing of DE Jason Hatcher this offseason was a wakeup call that has motivated him to become a better player. 'I've [ More ]

Patrick PetersonJul 30 12:03a

Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson announced via Twitter Tuesday, July 29, that he has signed a five-year contract extension worth $70 million with $48 million guaranteed.

Robert MeachemJul 29 11:53p

New Orleans Saints WR Robert Meachem (back) and OT Tavon Rooks (back) returned to practice Tuesday, July 29.

Greg ScruggsJul 29 11:43p

Seattle Seahawks DT Jordan Hill, SS Jeron Johnson, DE Greg Scruggs and LB Mike Morgan are four players that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn mentioned when asked what players have [ More ]

Jonathan DwyerJul 29 11:33p

Arizona Cardinals RB Stepfan Taylor worked with the first-team offense in place of RB Andre Ellington (neck) Tuesday, July 29. Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com believes the move means that [ More ]

Jake MatthewsJul 29 11:23p

Atlanta Falcons OT Jake Matthews has impressed QB Matt Ryan during training camp. 'I think Jake, his size and he's very strong, very athletic,' Ryan said Tuesday, July [ More ]

Dale MossJul 29 11:03p

The Chicago Bears signed free-agent WR Dale Moss (Panthers) to a one-year deal Tuesday, July 29. The financial terms were not disclosed.

Jerrel JerniganJul 29 10:43p

New York Giants CB Charles James could make the roster as a punt returner as a result of injuries to RB David Wilson (neck) and WR Odell Beckham Jr. [ More ]

Zac StacyJul 29 10:23p

St. Louis Ram RB Tre Mason saw received some snaps with the first-team Tuesday, July 29, with RB Zac Stacy receiving a majority of the work with the first-team.

Ray McDonaldJul 29 09:53p

San Francisco 49ers CB Chris Culliver (knee), CB Tramaine Brock (knee) and DE Ray McDonald (leg) did not practice Tuesday, July 29.

O'Brien SchofieldJul 29 09:33p

Seattle Seahawks LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (stomach) missed practice Tuesday, July 29, with a stomach injury, and LB O'Brien Schofield was given a scheduled day of rest.

Bryan BulagaJul 29 08:43p

Green Bay Packers OT Bryan Bulaga (knee) performed well in one-on-one pass-blocking drills Monday, July 28, stopping a rush attempt from LB Clay Matthews and two attempts from LB Julius Peppers.

Calvin JohnsonJul 29 08:23p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson is taking part in fewer reps in training camp this year than in years past and said he is trying to be smarter about [ More ]

Giorgio TavecchioJul 29 08:13p

Detroit Lions K Nate Freese and K Giorgio Tavecchio both missed field-goal attempts from nearly 50 yards during practice Tuesday, July 29, and the two remain in a competition for the starting kicking job.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group