Denver coach Gary Kubiak says he’s been in contact with Peyton Manning but isn’t pressuring him for a decision about his future. He also made it clear he wants Brock Osweiler back under centre for the Broncos next season.
Fifth-year backup Osweiler went 5-2 when Manning was hurt last season and is set to become a free agent next month.
Osweiler led the Broncos to crucial comeback wins over New England and Cincinnati that helped set up Denver for its run to Super Bowl 50, where the Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10 thanks to a defence that produced four takeaways and seven sacks.
Manning started all of Denver’s playoff games after winning his starting job back with a comeback against the Chargers in the regular season finale.
In comments at the league’s annual scouting combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday, Kubiak echoed GM John Elway’s stance that the Broncos will continue to give Manning all the time he needs to announce his plans.
It’s widely expected, however, that Manning will forego the final season on his contract and retire a champion. He turns 40 next month and has been bothered by injuries each of the last two seasons.
"There is no hurry here," Kubiak said.
But there is a deadline. Manning’s $19 million salary for 2016 would become guaranteed March 9, and the Broncos cannot afford to pay two quarterbacks starter’s money. Manning would face the possibility of being cut by the Broncos if he decides against retiring.
Kubiak said Elway and Manning "have had some conversations. I had a brief one with him yesterday. We will be talking probably today or I know this week. We want him to take his time and we’ll work from there. Nothing has changed."
Kubiak said Osweiler has a bright future — and he hopes that’s in Denver.
"He did a heck of a job for us. He started seven games for us. He played against some really good people in some tough situations. He played very well. I think he has a bright future," Kubiak said. "Obviously we think the world of him. We want him to be a part of our football team."
Elway meets with the media at the combine on Thursday.