Heading into the 2015 offseason there was serious doubt that Peyton Manning was returning to the Denver Broncos or even the NFL in general. The Broncos ended their season on a disappointing note. Denver opted to go through several coaching changes while losing key players to free agency. After doubt about his health and ability to compete, Manning signed a new contract and is denying this season is his last in the NFL.
Manning has heard the doubt surrounding his ability to be competitive this upcoming season as there is speculation injuries have dampened his arm strength and mobile abilities. When asked if 2015 was Manning's swan song, the quarterback dismissed the idea.
"I wouldn't call it that. That's not how I see it," Manning said, via ESPN.com. "We've got a 1 o'clock lift, it's going to be pretty exciting, and then we've got a 2 o'clock meeting. So, I'm trying to kind of focus in here on the now. So, whatever they feel is best, I guess I'll follow suit. But I feel good and obviously I enjoy being out there."
According to the Denver Post, the Broncos are aware the clock is ticking on Manning's time in the NFL and his era will end sooner rather than later. As a result, the Broncos are being predicted to draft a quarterback as early as the second round. The Post is reporting the Broncos have worked out several prospects including Bryce Petty, Garrett Grayson and Brett Hundley. They will all be around in the second round of later for the Broncos to select and push Brock Osweiler for the backup job.
Manning did address one issue at camp which was the absence of Demaryius Thomas who is reportedly holding out after getting hit with the franchise tag instead of a long-term contract. Manning made it clear that he supports Thomas and is confident the wide receiver will be ready to play when things start getting serious.
"Certainly, you always like for everybody to be here during this time, but you know D.T.'s got a personal issue and I want it to work out the best for him," Manning said. "He's my teammate, but he's my friend, as well, and this is that business side of it that comes into play. And I'm pulling for it to work out the best for him."
The Denver Post reports that the Broncos might look at receivers in late rounds, but is favoring Maxx Williams early for tight end help. Virgil Green is expected to take over the Julius Thomas, but Williams would be a solid backup for Manning to work with.