Though a report from The Denver Post on Saturday said that Peyton Manning had decided to retire, it sounds like the quarterback is far from decided, as the Broncos don't know what he will do and Manning himself might not either. According to NFL Media's James Palmer, a decision from Manning is not expected to come this week, though he will meet with Broncos general manager John Elway and head coach Gary Kubiak this week.
The Broncos are giving Manning time to make his decision, but that time is running out. Manning's base salary of $19 million becomes fully guaranteed on March 9, 2016, which is the start of the new league year as well. The Broncos are not going to be paying Manning that, so they will need to know by March 8 what Manning's plans are. If the quarterback decides to retire, then that's the ideal situation for Denver. But if the soon-to-be 40-year old decides to continue playing, the Broncos will have to release the quarterback who had such a tremendous four-year run with them and just hoisted the Lombardi Trophy earlier this month. The Broncos are likely hoping that Manning retires so that they won't have to take the PR hit of releasing him, but if no decision comes this week, Denver might have no choice but to cut Manning.
Either way, however, it seems abundantly clear that Manning has played his last down with the Broncos; the only question now is whether he will play for another team. The decision seems easy to most people on the outside looking in - "he should retire." But to Manning, it's a complicated process, and his agent shed some light on that. Tom Condon, Manning's agent, recently did an interview with SiriusXM NFL radio and said that he doesn't know his client's decision but that Manning will tell him when he's ready. Condon did have this to say, however (per CBS): "The closest he's got to disclosing any of his intentions was that he said he just wanted to take his time and make sure and he said 'I really like to play.'" Condon went on to add that Manning is doing his research just like he did when the Colts cut him in 2012.
The comments from Tom Condon paint a much more complicated picture of Manning's decision: he simply loves to play the game of football. He's been doing it in the NFL for 18 years, and then at Tennessee before that, and then in high school before that, so it's totally understandable why someone in that situation would be hesitant to walk away from it (and sheds some understanding on why Brett Favre had a hard time deciding to retire, too). It seems, then, that Manning really wants to play but is trying to think through how that fits with his declining skill-set. He surely knows that he's not the player he once was, and 2015 was a rough year for him on the field when it came to his play. So from that angle, retirement seems like the right decision, but the fact of the matter is that he simply enjoys playing football and doesn't want to give it up.
It's still most likely that Manning will retire, especially when considering that the other alternative is going to another team, culture, and system for what would likely be one more year. That doesn't seem worth it, and riding off into the sunset as a Super Bowl champion seems like the right decision. But it's one that Manning is struggling to make, and if a recent report from James Palmer is to be believed, we might not find out the answer this week.