The Denver Broncos might be on the verge of making a decision they’ll very much regret.
Reports last week indicated that Peyton Manning told the Broncos that he’s ready to come back and play for them next season, which would be his fourth year in Denver.
Manning’s desire to return and play next season is easy enough to understand. He’s due $19 million, and he still yearns to win one more title before he rides off into the sunset and eventually through the doors of the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
The fact that Tom Brady just won his 4th Super Bowl a few weeks ago has to be gnawing at Manning, which probably drives him to give it one more good shot in Denver.
Last season Manning started hot and played as one of the best quarterbacks in the league before he slid pretty dramatically in the season’s second half. While some of his problems last season stemmed from a thigh injury he suffered against San Diego in Week 14, the fact is that quarterbacks, especially those who approach their 40th birthday, tend to deteriorate.
When one factors in Manning’s numerous neck surgeries, it’s easy to conclude that the five-time MVP’s ability to continue playing at a high level becomes more doubtful.
The Broncos have issues to address along their offensive line, and they also need to take care of some of their most pressing free agents, players such as wide receiver Demaryuis Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas, two vital ingredients of their passing game.
In addition, the Broncos need to think long and hard about defensive tackle Terrance Knighton’s value to the team. Knighton, an unrestricted free agent, is one of 20 Broncos players set to hit the open market.
Last year John Elway bolstered Denver’s defense with big-time signings, bringing in Aqib Talib, TJ Ward, and DeMarcus Ware. The Broncos defense benefited from each of those signings and Denver would do well to continue beefing up the defensive side of the ball.
The best defensive player on the market this off-season that should be of interest to Denver is Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Placing Revis in the Broncos secondary with players such as Chris Harris and the aforementioned Talib would provide Denver with perhaps the best defensive backfield in all of football.
Adding Revis to the mix would allow Denver to better defend against pass-happy teams that routinely use four- and five-receiver sets. Revis would provide the Broncos with three “lock down” players on the defensive side of the ball.
The heir apparent at quarterback for the Broncos is Brock Osweiler. Osweiler has seen almost no playing time in the three years he has served as Manning’s understudy, but the Broncos are very high on his ability and they love his arm.
Some believe the Broncos might have fared better in their playoff loss to the Colts with Osweiler and not Manning at quarterback. Osweiler could also be more suited to run the kind of offense that new coach Gary Kubiak will be installing next year.
The Broncos expect to become more of a run-oriented team with the emergence of CJ Anderson, who became the team’s most consistent option on the ground this past season.
The signs point to Manning’s return. However, the best fit for Denver might be to go in another direction with a young and strong-armed quarterback by the name of Brock Osweiler while spending big dollars on this year’s best defensive free-agent.
Denver may be better served by saying goodbye to Peyton Manning—and saying hello to Darrelle Revis.
Dino Costa is a talk radio host who may be found at: www.dinocostalive.com