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Peyton Manning chooses Broncos over Titans, 49ers

  • By NFL.com
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Peyton Manning picked the Denver Broncos to be his next team and is finalizing a contract, a league source told NFL Network's Michael Lombardi on Monday.

The Broncos still are working out contract language with Manning, league sources told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora on Tuesday, but a deal is very close.

The crux of the multi-year deal for Manning is done, sources told La Canfora, but the sides still are ironing out some details such as the wording of certain clauses, among other things.

The Broncos have tentatively scheduled a Tuesday news conference at 3 p.m. ET in the team meeting room of the Broncos’ training facility, according to a team release.

There is every expectation everything will be fully signed off and a contract will be executed prior to Tuesday's scheduled news conference, according to La Canfora.

After a jubilant Monday at the club’s Englewood, Colo., facility, Denver salary cap director Mike Sullivan spent much of the evening working on details of the deal with Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, long after others had left, NFL Network's Albert Breer reported.

Like the other clubs vying for Manning’s services, the Broncos have known that they’d be working off the parameters of the five-year, $90 million deal Manning signed with the Colts in August. But the structure is expected to vary, and protections will be written for the club in case Manning’s neck problems recur. The league also must approve the deal.

Manning called the Broncos on Monday morning and talked to Broncos executive vice president John Elway and coach John Fox, who communicated the word to the rest of an ecstatic organization, according to Breer.

The Broncos already have looked into a trade of quarterback Tim Tebow and currently are looking for a partner, a source told Breer.

Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker, who had 44 receptions for 612 yards with eight touchdowns last season, told La Canfora that he expects the offense to change with Manning now under center and that the quarterback would run the system from the line of scrimmage.

"More of the offense will be in Peyton's hands," Decker said.

The Broncos were one of three finalists for the four-time NFL MVP, along with the Tennessee Titans and the San Francisco 49ers. The Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins also were in the hunt and received meetings with Manning but ultimately didn't make the final three.

Manning and Titans coach Mike Munchak hit it off during the quarterback's meeting with the team. It was very hard for Manning to call Munchak on Monday and inform him of his decision to go to the Broncos, a source close to the situation told NFL Network's Michelle Beisner.

Manning personally called Titans owner Bud Adams, who had offered the quarterback a lifetime contract with the team, to let him know of his choice, according to The Tennessean. The newspaper reported that Adams was disappointed, but he was glad his team made a run at Manning.

"I was hoping we would win out," Adams said. "I thought we'd be ahead of Denver. I thought he'd want to stay in Tennessee."

Adams told The Tennessean that he jokingly told Manning, "He was going into high altitude, so he better start getting in shape."

The Broncos flew to Durham, N.C., last Friday to watch Manning throw at nearby Duke University. Their contingent included Elway, Fox, general manager Brian Xanders, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, quarterbacks coach Adam Gase and medical personnel.

One team source told Breer on Monday that the team is very comfortable with the 20 to 30 minutes they spent watching Manning throw last week, adding, "He looked like Peyton."

The Indianapolis Colts released Manning on March 7, ending a 14-year relationship between the team and its franchise quarterback.

The Colts' decision to part ways with the four-time MVP, who has thrown for over 54,000 career yards with 399 touchdowns, didn't come as a surprise. Manning missed all of 2011 after undergoing neck surgery the week before the start of the regular season. He was scheduled to receive a $28 million roster bonus had he been with the Colts, a team currently in rebuilding mode with a new coach and general manager, after the start of the league year.

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