Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco Lard 3-21-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Pat Bowlen and John Elway (BTV interview) introduced (presser video) Peyton Manning (BTV interview) as the new starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos yesterday.

Say it aloud, friends:

Peyton Manning. Denver Broncos.

Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco.

Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco.

Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco.

Still hard to believe, but click your heels, and it will remain just as true.

Peyton says he plans to play for a long time, and he wants to retire a Bronco. He wants to win multiple championships in Denver, so a one-and-done doesn't sound in the cards even if the previously unthinkable occurs in 2012. Though he's admittedly not yet where he wants to be physically, Manning says he could play if there were a game this Sunday, and he'd be wearing his familiar #18, this time in Broncos orange.

But how did this all happen, you ask? It started with a phone call from John (Fox, that is - not Elway) to Peyton on the day Manning was released by the Colts. John Elway AutoNation has perfected the art of the soft sell, and the understated Mr. B told PM that the QB would be his guy.

And as he made clear during his portion of the presser, everything about the Broncos and Denver made Peyton feel comfortable. Old friends (of his and ours) John Lynch and Brandon Stokley pitched in over dinner after Manning's visit to Dove Valley two Fridays ago, and of course, the Slot Machine and his son tossed it around with Peyton the following morning. Champ Bailey and Elvis Dumervil indundated Manning's phone with recruitment messages.

On the practical side of things, the Broncos have added one of the GOATs without having to swing a trade or pay compensatory picks of any kind, and, at Manning's behest, they have as little financial and cap risk as could have been reasonably envisioned. Only days after the Bills gave Mario Williams (five games played in 2011) $50M in guarantees and the Jaguars doled out $14M in assurances to Laurent Robinson (54 catches, 858 yds, 11 TD in 2011, all career highs), the Broncos have promised Manning just the $18M salary they will pay him this season.

Should Manning remain healthy enough to pass his physicals in each of 2013 and 2014, he will be guaranteed $20M per season, meaning a healthy Peyton Manning would be guaranteed $58M over the next three seasons. His 2015 and 2016 salaries ($19M per) have no guarantees of any kind.

So, what's next? How about true competitive relevance and a major overhaul of what we know Foxball to be? Meanwhile, it sounds like Colts TE Jacob Tamme has priced himself out of Denver's neighborhood, but he will visit Dove Valley, as will Peyton's center Jeff Saturday (on Friday).

Manning's SB 44 nemesis Tracy Porter will stop in today, and the team is expected to contact Billy Volek and Caleb Hanie about backing up the 35-year-old legend. They're also interested in Steelers CB William Gay and Jets TE Matthew Mulligan.

Bucky Brooks expects we'll be seeing plenty of the Smash/Corner combo routes and All-Go concepts Manning had perfected with Indy, a return to zone blocking from the zone read, the Garcon/Collie-ification of Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, and a lot fewer huddles than we've ever been accustomed to as Broncos fans.

How about the big uglies and their blocking? Ben Muth thinks they're pretty good; he says Orlando Franklin's pass-blocking deficiencies are a matter of technique rather than ability, and the return to a pass-first QB with pocket awareness should bring out the better of Ryan Clady. Chris Kuper reminds Muth of Logan Mankins, he likes the athleticism of Zane Beadles, and although he thinks Denver should probably upgrade over J.D. Walton, he's not so certain Jeff Saturday is the right man for that job.

Considering the trivia angle, Scott Kacsmar figures the union of Elway and Manning is as good a time as any to solve the inconsistencies inherent to the statistics that track comeback wins.


Since Manning wants to play another four years, there's no sense in keeping Tim Tebow, who wants to go home, anyway. As for the hilarious notion that Elway is jealous of Tim's popularity, consider that he just brought in a player who may be better than he ever was.

Where to, Tebow? How about Jacksonville or New Jersey? No thanks, say the News and the Post; Why not? asks Clark Judge. Just don't do it to sell tickets, says Dan Wetzel.

There would be quite a fallout in each NFL city should Tebow land there, but after losing Woody Paige as his personal fluffer, we know Timmy will have Peter King following him wherever he goes.


Alex Smith is staying in San Francisco; Tennessee will sign Kam Wimbley; Houston dealt DeMeco Ryans to Philly; Arizona is keeping Early Doucet; Stephen Tulloch will remain in Detroit.

San Diego hosted Chiefs RB Jackie Battle and hopes to re-sign Jacob Hester, Antonio Garay, and Luis Castillo, but they are not pursuing Michael Bush, who has received little interest and may return to Oakland.

Hines Ward announced his retirement as a Pittsburgh Steeler.

Wes Bunting ranks RB prospects by tiers, and he has Denver taking Baylor WR Kendall Wright in his latest mock; Greg Gabriel evaluates Spartans WR Keyshawn Martin and DT Jerel Worthy.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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