Asked to grade quarterback Peyton Manning’s 2012 season, in which he led the Broncos to a 13-3 record, the AFC’s No. 1 seed and a divisional-round playoff exit, Denver vice president of football operations John Elway gave Manning the highest possible mark: an A+, according to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio.
Manning earned Comeback Player of the Year honors and finished second in MVP voting, playing in all 16 games following four neck surgeries that caused him to miss the entire 2011 season. He posted a 105.8 rating, 4,659 passing yards and 37 touchdowns, all good for second-best in his career and the latter two numbers his best since 2004.
But after winning 11 straight games, the Broncos were upset by the eventual champion Ravens, 38-35, in their first playoff game, handing Manning his eighth career one-and-done postseason trip and dropping his overall record to 9-11.
Manning received his share of blame for the loss — his second interception of the game set up Baltimore’s game-winning field goal in overtime — but Denver would have prevailed if not for safety Rahim Moore’s gaffe that allowed the Ravens to tie the game in the final minute of regulation.
Elway also said that the 36-year-old Manning has two or three years left in the NFL and could be asked to restructure his contract.
With $40 million due over the next two years and a cap number of $20 million in 2013, Elway said that the team’s cap situation doesn’t compel a reshuffling of money. Still, Elway knows Peyton would re-do his deal if a new deal was needed for cap relief.
“I just know that if we got in a situation I wouldn’t have a problem going to Peyton and asking him and I don’t think he’d have a problem with me coming and asking him about it,” Elway said.