Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will be playing in his fourth Super Bowl when the Broncos take on the Panthers this Sunday, and it's widely expected that the all-time great will retire following the game. He hasn't said so publicly, however, and has instead insisted that he hasn't had time to consider it.
If he wants to come back, it's uncertain how many teams would want the 40-year old quarterback. Broncos fans are quick to point out that number 18 is under contract with Denver for next year, though those are likely the same fans who think that the team should move forward with Brock Osweiler as their quarterback. It is widely expected that the Broncos will move on from Manning this offseason if the quarterback wants to keep playing.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Los Angeles Rams would have interest in Manning should that happen. Schefter reported this morning that the Rams have had internal discussions about the possibility of bringing Manning in should he opt to keep playing and should the Broncos then move on from him, as expected. Wrote Schefter:
Manning still must decide whether he wants to play again, and the Rams still are formulating their quarterback plans. But they are monitoring the Manning situation, per a source, which is a sign that the Broncos quarterback could have options next season.
It has been a very tough season for Manning as he had the worst year of his brilliant 18-year career. He started just nine games and had 2,249 yards passing to go with nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions, finishing as the lowest-rated quarterback in football. He missed several games due to injury and then was benched upon returning, though that was very short-lived. He has played better in the two playoff games and now the Broncos are within one win of a Lombardi Trophy, but it's clear that Manning is very near to the end.
The Rams, however, might be willing to take a chance on the 40-year old quarterback, since they really don't have any better options at the moment. Nick Foles was awful in 2015 as well, finishing as the second-worst rated passer in 2015. He's not the answer for the Rams, so they will be looking at their options this offseason. If the league's all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns becomes available, they may give him a legitimate look - if not solely because of the on-the-field benefit, perhaps also to help sell the team to fans in their new hometown of Los Angeles by bringing in one of the best players in league history for the Rams' first season back in L.A.
With all of that said, it seems unlikely that this will happen, as the most likely result still seems to be Manning retiring. I think that's what would be the best decision for him as well, and hopefully he is able to go out with a Super Bowl win. Either way, however, he has nothing left to prove and we saw this year he isn't the player he once was. It's likely that he will retire, and that's the best option for him as well regardless of who is interested in him.