Even though it’s not official, it looks as though Peyton Manning will return in 2015. After a humiliating defeat in the first round of the playoffs (again), some speculated that Manning would retire. He started off the 2014 season on a hot streak, but after a quad injury suffered later in the year, Manning just wasn’t the same.
Manning has informed the Broncos he is “physically and mentally prepared” to play football “at a significant level” in 2015, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com.
The physical aspect is incredibly important for a quarterback who is going to be 39 years old in 2015. Manning just didn’t look the same when he couldn’t properly step into his throws because of the quad injury. The lack of velocity prevented him from throwing passes deep, but his accuracy suffered even on shorter routes.
To prove his health, Manning is set to take a physical about a week before the start of the new league year. This means Manning will be checked out by doctors to make sure he’s good to go near the end of February or beginning of March. Manning should have no problem passing the physical, and doing so would guarantee is salary for 2015.
Manning has a cap hit of $21.5 million this season. However, there is only $5 million in dead money left on his contract. The Broncos might approach Manning to see if he can move some of that money around.
Joel Corry, former agent and current writer for NationalFootballPost.com, tweeted last week that a simple restructure could save the Broncos just over $9 million in cap space this season.
Being mentally prepared for the grind of another season is important as well. Manning is arguably the hardest working player in the entire league. He prepares each week at an incredible pace, even going so far as to watch film on his iPad while in the ice tub. Manning just doesn’t take much time off—and he needs to be mentally ready to do that again in 2015.
The Broncos are in a Super Bowl window with Manning as the starter—but this is perhaps his (and their) last year in that sweet spot.

All quotes and injury/practice observations obtained firsthand. Record/statistical information provided via the Broncos’ media department unless otherwise noted.
Contract and salary-cap information provided by Spotrac. Transaction history provided by Pro Sports Transactions.
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