AP source: Manning, Broncos talking about reworking contract
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) It looks as if it's going to come down to money.
A person with knowledge of the negotiations confirms the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning's representatives are discussing ways to revise his contract and give the team more flexibility in free agency.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks.
Manning, who has made more money than any player in pro football history, is due to make another $19 million in both 2015 and '16, and his salary cap number for next season is $21.2 million.
John Elway has traditionally been one of the more aggressive general managers in the NFL when it comes to free agency, and he has plenty of problems to fix again this offseason.
Last year he lured DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib and Emmanuel Sanders, Pro Bowlers all, and he wants to make another run at a Super Bowl title with Manning, who turns 39 next month.
Redoing Manning's deal would give Elway more maneuverability as he addresses Denver's offseason needs, including retooling the offensive line that figures to have up to three new members next season.
Following Denver's playoff loss to his former team, the Indianapolis Colts, last month, Manning was non-committal about playing next season, which would be his 18th in the NFL. Elway asked him the next morning not to make a rash decision.
Manning flew to Denver on Feb. 12 to meet with Elway and new coach Gary Kubiak, both of whom said at the NFL scouting combine last week that they expected Manning to be their quarterback next season.
Manning must also pass a physical by March 5 where doctors check to see if there's any degeneration in his surgically repaired neck, but both the five-time MVP and Elway have said they consider that a mere formality.
The Broncos figure to have about $27 million to work with under the projected $148 million salary cap in 2015, but a franchise tag for star receiver Demaryius Thomas next week would eat up about half of that figure. Placing the franchise tag on Thomas would buy them some time to negotiate a long-term deal. They did that with kicker Matt Prater and blindside protector Ryan Clady.
They also have to allot at least $6 million for their bevy of draft picks that's expected to include multiple compensatory selections for all the free agents they lost last year.
Manning owns most of the significant QB records and is a half-season's worth of yards 2,148 shy of breaking Brett Favre's yardage record of 71,838.
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