The Denver Broncos are reportedly preparing to part ways with Peyton Manning despite the fact that the latter has yet to announce his decision whether to retire or continue to play. The Super Bowl champs are proceeding with contract negotiations with other players without counting the star quarterback and his $19 million salary on their books for salary cap purposes, Fox Sports reported, citing unnamed league sources.
Manning, 39, led the Broncos to their recent Super Bowl 50 championship. The speculation regarding his retirement loomed for much of the season, reaching a height following the Broncos' victory over the Carolina Panthers. The report indicated that Manning's decision, whether he choose to hang up his cleats or not, might not matter anymore as the club has already made the decision for him.
Alex Marvez of Fox Sports writes that it is "not a matter of if but when" the team and Manning will part ways. Denver's supposed decision is not entirely surprising as the team has been reported to be focused on re-signing Brock Osweiler as Manning's replacement.
News about the quarterback's retirement surfaced on Saturday fueled by a report by the Denver Post's Woody Paige who cited two sources suggesting that the five-time league MVP was going to announce his retirement by the end of next week. The move to finalize the decision has begun when Manning met with Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager John Elway at the latter's home this past week, Paige wrote.
However, Patrick Smyth, Broncos PR vice president, has denied that Manning has made any formal decision. "Peyton has not made a decision on his future. The plan remains for him to continue talks with the team this week," Smyth tweeted on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Broncos linebacker and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller is on the brink of getting the club's franchise tag as the two sides have not yet agreed on a long-term deal ahead of the NHL's Tuesday deadline, a source familiar with the situation told ESPN.
If an agreement is not reached, the Broncos will tag Miller, who would then be paid $14.129 million in 2016, should he sign the one-year tender. The two sides have reportedly been discussing contract possibilities in the past few weeks. Clubs giving their player a franchise tag has been a pretty common occurrence in the league, but it can sometimes mean that they are not on the same page.
"Obviously with the career that he's had already and the way that he played this year, we're very hopeful that we'll be able to get something done. We're always hopeful that if we can get together that we'd like to," Elway mentioned on Thursday, before adding that the Broncos would rather reach a point where they would not need to use the franchise tag on Miller.