Peyton Manning will announce his retirement on Monday afternoon, ending one of the most prolific careers in NFL history. But while Manning is going out on his terms, he may not have had a choice.
If Manning did want to keep playing, it is unclear if he would have had any offers and the NFL’s strict calendar forced him to make his retirement decision now rather than wait to see if any teams did come calling.
NFL insider Adam Schefter addressed this issue on ESPN Radio Monday morning.
“If you go through the teams in the league that have quarterback questions and openings, there was not one of them that jumped out and said they want Peyton Manning as a starting quarterback,” Schefter said. “There is a quarterback question right now in New York with the Jets, in Houston with the Texans, in Los Angeles with the Rams, in Denver with the Broncos. There was one in Philadelphia until the Eagles signed Sam Bradford last week. Cleveland with the Browns. There is not one team that said ‘we are going after Peyton Manning hard.'”
Schefter later clarified that the Rams had shown interest in signing Manning but would not guarantee him the starting job, a pill that may have been tough to swallow for a quarterback with Manning’s pride.
Still, there was also the issue of timing.
If the Broncos were indeed ready to move on and make Brock Osweiler their starting quarterback — they reportedly have a 3-year, $45 million contract offer on the table for Osweiler — they would have been forced to cut Manning this week to avoid having him take up $21.5 million worth of space on their salary cap next season.
While there was plenty of time for Manning to get healthy, show teams he could still be productive, and potentially change their minds, Manning’s future would have been dangling in the wind. If Manning had been cut and later forced to retire simply because he couldn’t find a job, it would have been an ugly end to a storied career and much different than just “going out a champion.”
Instead, Manning is announcing his retirement now, going out on his terms, and avoiding having his legacy end with an ugly footnote.
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