The news broke early this morning after ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted, “Peyton Manning called John Elway this morning to tell him he’s looking forward to coming to play for him.”
Manning, the NFL’s four-time MVP, discussed a 5-year, $95 million dollar contract with Elway, the Broncos’ vice president of football operations last week during his visit with the team. According to ESPN, Manning has now instructed his agent, Tom Condon, to begin negotiating the final details of the contract. Once the deal is final, sources say the Broncos will be trading Tim Tebow.
The Indianapolis Colts released Manning on March 7and five teams quickly emerged as front runners to hire him: the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals. Last week, Manning had seemed to narrow down his choices after visiting and holding workouts with the 49ers, Broncos and Titans.
Manning called both the 49ers and Titans on Monday to inform them he had chosen to play for the Broncos.
“Obviously I am disappointed, because I thought we would be a perfect fit,” Titans owner Bud Adams said in a statement. “Now that we move forward, I want our fans to know that our expectations haven’t changed — winning a championship is still the goal. I like our quarterback situation moving forward and we will continue to build the team through free agency and the draft with that goal in mind.”
Sources told ESPN the contract will address any concerns Manning has regarding the neck injury that sidelined him for all of last season, and sources say Elway told Manning he wanted to finalize a contract that would be “fair to both sides.”
Yet ESPN says the Broncos aren’t too concerned about Manning’s medical condition, and it doesn’t seem to be holding Manning himself back either. He passed all physical exams administered by all three teams.