The Denver Broncos may have moved quickly yesterday to deny reports they tried to trade away Peyton Manning earlier this offseason, but that hasn't stopped new details emerging today revealing the risk they took when opening negotiations on a new deal with the future Hall of Famer.
Manning's future was the subject of much debate at the turn of the year and it was only when the veteran quarterback signed a new reduced contract in March that his return to the NFL in 2015 was confirmed.
Now, though, Broncos beat writer Mike Klis has revealed how those negotiations started and you have to imagine Manning's team were far from impressed with what they say.
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According to Klis, whilst Denver were never willing to trade away the elite QB, they initially asked him to take a huge $10 million pay cut to secure a new deal for 2015.
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Even with the lacklustre end to the 2014 campaign fresh in the memory, asking a player of Peyton Manning's stature to reduce his earnings (at least initially) by $10 million is a risky hard sell to open talks with.
Ultimately the two sides agreed upon a deal which sees Manning take a reduced salary of $14 million per season rather than the $19 million he was set to earn. That is still a fairly healthy chunk, but nothing compared to the pretty derisory $9 million that was initially on the table.
Although Kris argues the Broncos were never considering playing 2015 without Peyton Manning, his revelation concerning their offer suggests they were certainly not erring on the side of caution. Had Peyton Manning not been the creature of comfort that he is, the over 50-percent pay cut could have been enough to stop talks in their tracks.
As it is, the Manning-Broncos partnership is preparing for its third season together, although 2015 will see Manning take charge of a different offensive system following the arrival of Gary Kubiak as head coach.
Kubiak and the Broncos faithful will be hoping their decision to back Peyton Manning to succeed this year doesn't backfire as they look to put their early playoff exit in 2014 behind them.
Broncos fans: Is Peyton Manning still capable of leading a team to the Super Bowl, or should you have moved on this offseason? Let us know in the comments below...
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