Peyton’s Pay Cut Shows He Wants to Win

Schlosser’s Spotlight on the NFL Today

Peyton Manning and the Broncos have finally agreed upon a new contract for the 2015 season, and it means that Manning will take a pay cut of about $4 million. The cut drops him from roughly $19M in base salary to around $15M.

The little details are being hashed out, but this thing is pretty much final. It’s been dragging on for a few weeks, and it now appears the end is really here. Peyton will be in orange and blue next season. The timing is really due to the impending free agent period, which will open up next week. The Broncos wanted to have things squared away so they’d know what type of money they can spend.

Manning needs more help.

Manning needs more help.

Denver made a number of big moves last offseason, but the team still wasn’t good enough to even win a playoff game. Now, with $4 million extra in their pocket, they’re looking to make more moves this year. Exactly what they plan to do isn’t clear yet, but John Elway has not been shy in free agency, and he’s been masterful in getting the players he wants on team-friendly contracts.

What this shows more than anything, though, is that Peyton Manning is in Denver to win, not just to play football and take home a few more game checks. Sure, he’s not playing for free, but he’s well under what he’s worth. He’s willing to be there so the team has a better chance to win it all.

Manning absolutely could have brought in $19 million if he wanted it. Even if Denver had refused, he could have gone somewhere else. Rex Ryan would probably have brought him to Buffalo instead of Matt Cassel.

This isn’t something new, as Manning has always been a team player, but this is the first time he’s backed it up with cold hard cash. He knows it may be his last rodeo, and, if $4 million can bring in the talent Denver needs to win the Super Bowl, he’s willing to help.

A lot of comparisons are being made to Tom Brady’s deal. This is not the same. Brady simply took money and moved it around in his contract. At the end of the day, though he did give the Patriots more cap room, he actually made $3 million more from the deal. It’s not the pay cut that some people seem to believe. It was helpful, yes, and showed how Brady is also all about winning, but Peyton is simply cutting his pay down and straight up losing money. He’s not moving it anywhere. Denver is not going to pay him $26M next year to make up for it.

One more Super Bowl win and done?

One more Super Bowl win and done?

If he could have, perhaps Manning would have looked for a deal like that. He just doesn’t have long enough left. At this point, it would be a surprise if he played two more years, let alone enough years to recoup the cash—though the level he can play at in 2015 will likely dictate what he does in 2016.

Still, this is the type of pay cut where he simply watches his bank account get smaller and the Broncos get better. It makes free agency more exciting in Denver. The team should now have well over $20M to play with, even with Demaryius Thomas under the franchise tag.

Elway hasn’t tipped his hand yet, but, with space like that, there could be a handful of big signings next week. Targets could include a defensive tackle to replace Pot Roast (Terrance Knighton), who is projected to be gone, or a tight end to replace Julius Thomas.

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