Manning to Denver, What's Next?

Manning to Denver, What's Next?

Congratulations, Denver Broncos. Your organization appears to have won the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. Now what?

First, the Broncos have to negotiate a deal with Manning. The terms being thrown around are five years and $95 million, but this is a contract where the specifics are pretty important. Manning's going to get some ridiculous amount of guaranteed money — perhaps even the $55 million figure that's been thrown around after the Mario Williams deal — but the Broncos need to ensure that they get the right wording in the contract to void it if Manning's neck injury precludes him from playing. It seems simple enough to get that done, but it's a non-trivial discussion. Denver has a young, cheap team with the salary cap space to fit Manning into their budget, so the financial issue shouldn't slow down this deal very much.

Next is adapting the roster to take advantage of Manning's presence. He takes over an offense that averaged just 19.3 points per game, which was 25th in the league. Denver's offense really only had two strengths last season: A running game that ripped off significant gains on a regular basis, and a passing game that avoided interceptions. Most of that was attributed to Tim Tebow. Research has shown that teams with running quarterbacks like Tebow or Michael Vick improve their halfbacks' yards per carry and effectiveness when the run-happy quarterbacks are in the lineup, and then see that same performance disappear when the rushing quarterbacks get injured or go back to the bench. That also stands for Willis McGahee, who averaged 3.8 yards per carry in the games before Tebow entered the lineup at quarterback and 5.2 yards a pop afterward. Denver's running game will be worse with Manning in the lineup, but they should make up for it by significantly improving their passing attack.

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