The clock ticks closer to March 9, the day that Peyton Manning's $19 million base salary for the 2015 season becomes fully guaranteed. For that to happen, the future Hall of Fame quarterback must pass a team physical and before that can even occur, he must decide whether he wants to continue playing football.
Still, there's another side to the situation. The Denver Broncos could determine that, after the way Manning's 2014 season ended, the team is better off beginning to rebuild immediately with a new signal caller. However, according to MMQB's Peter King, such a scenario is highly unlikely.
According to King, while the team could restructure Manning's contract to lower the cap hit in 2015, the team knows their best chance of going deep in the playoffs is with Manning at the helm. Given King's close ties with Denver GM John Elway, the report is likely far from just speculation.
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Wes Welker expects to play in 2015
Manning isn't the only Broncos veteran who has considered retirement this offseason. Longtime NFL receiver Wes Welker considered hanging up the cleats after suffering multiple concussions during the past two seasons. While he hasn't made a decision, he told Denver Post's Mike Klis that he's preparing for 2015 as though he will play.
The other factor that could determine Welker's future is whether the Broncos or another team actually want to sign him. The soon-to-be 34-year-old is coming off a season where he caught the fewest passes (49) for the fewest yards (464) since his rookie year, and there are plenty of other options at the position.
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Randall Cobb seeks deal worth $9 million annually
Though not as celebrated as Dez Bryant or Demaryius Thomas, Randall Cobb is one of the top wide receivers set to hit the market once free agency begins in early March. The Packers' wideout caught 91 passes for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns last season and doesn't turn 25 until August. According to ESPN's Rob Demovsky, Cobb and his agent are seeking a deal that would pay him around $9 million per year.
What complicates things for Cobb is that he's almost exclusively an inside receiver. According to Pro Football Focus, nearly 90 percent of his offensive snaps since the start of 2012 came from the slot. Receivers like that generally don't earn nearly eight figures. Still, with the leverage afforded by the open market, Cobb might get his wish, whether it's with the Packers or another team.
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Robert Mathis wants to participate in OTAs
After leading the NFL in sacks during the 2013 regular season, Robert Mathis spent the entire year on injured reserve after tearing his Achilles. There was optimism he would be ready to go once offseason workouts rolled around, but a setback in his rehabilitation appears to have chilled expectations for the veteran pass rusher. Still, Mathis believes he might return for a portion of OTAs, according to Chris Wesseling of NFL.com.
Mathis turns 34 later this February, an advanced age for any NFL player let alone one coming off a major injury. The important thing for the Colts is that Mathis gets back to 100 percent by the start of the season. If he really can return in time for OTAs, that suggests he could be right for Week 1.