The Denver Broncos, deciding that the future is now, dipped deep into their pockets and signed Peyton Manning to a free agent contract.
It took $90 million over five years to lure Manning to Denver.
The Titans, Jets, 49ers, Dolphins, Cardinals and Redskins were among those left wanting. Titans owner Bud Adams appeared to be the most disappointed.
He had envisioned Manning returning to the state where he starred as a collegiate quarterback, at the University of Tennessee. Front office executive, and former star Broncos’ quarterback, John Elway, apparently decided that controversial young quarterback Tim Tebow was not the answer for their current needs.
Tebow was criticized for his erratic passing, completing fewer than 50 percent of his tosses.
Elway, a two time Super Bowl winner himself, must have felt that the Broncos have a better chance of reaching the top spot with Manning.
Manning does have one Super Bowl win on his resume, a 2006 thumping of the Bears. Manning was named MVP of that game.
So, was this a prudent way to spend $90 million? The answer is not necessarily “yes.”
Manning recently turned 36-years-old. He started 208 consecutive games from 1998 through 2010, throwing more than 7,200 passes.
Imagine the punishment that he has had to withstand.
After never missing a game for 13 seasons, he missed the entire 2011 campaign after suffering a neck injury that required several surgeries to fix.
He did impress the onlookers with his throwing during a recent workout, but will he be able to withstand much more punishment at the hands of ill tempered 300- pound defenders?
In looking at the careers of some of the all-time great quarterbacks, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, Dan Marino, and even John Elway himself, their years of good productivity number between 11 and 16 years.
The nearly invincible Brett Favre is one of the very few exceptions, with 19 productive seasons.
This will be Manning’s 15th season. Signing him for that much money for five years seems like a huge gamble.
Elway was considered a gambler as a quarterback, so maybe he has one more winning gamble up his sleeve. He is past his prime as an NFL quarterback and coming off a very serious injury.
That is not to say that Tebow was the answer, because I am not a fan of him as a quarterback.
It just seems like the $90 million could have been better spent, especially in a sport with a salary cap. But you never know, Peyton may have a few good years left in him. If he brings Denver even one more Super Bowl win, it will have been a good investment.