After a lengthy and highly publicized courtship involving several teams, Peyton Manning has signed a contract with the NFL’s Denver Broncos worth up to $96 million over five years. Visits with the Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans, in addition to the Broncos, allowed Manning, one of the most successful NFL quarterbacks of all time, to maximize his leverage by identifying and taking steps to strengthen his Plan B (going to another team).
Given the high level of interest from around the league, Manning also had an advantage regarding how much he needed a deal compared to his suitors – all teams with some questions at the quarterback position (including the Broncos, despite Tim Tebow’s success last season). The opportunity to sign a quarterback of Manning’s caliber doesn’t come around often and the Broncos will pay well for the privilege, this despite the fact that Manning missed last season while recovering from multiple neck surgeries. The Broncos tempered their risk by only guaranteeing the $18 million due for next season. Afterwards, Manning must pass a physical before each season to get paid.