In March, future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning chose to sign with the Denver Broncos after being pursued by the Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. (Or "evaluated" by the Niners, as Jim Harbaugh described it.)
Manning signed a five-year, $96 million contract that contained $58 million in potentially guaranteed money, but the operative term is "potentially." Manning will earn $18 million this season, but will need to pass a physical in March 2013 to trigger the guarantees on the remaining $40 million, which is comprised of $20 million base salaries in both 2013 and 2014.
With nothing fully guaranteed beyond this season, Manning is approaching the 2012 season with a sense of urgency, writes Woody Paige of The Denver Post.
"End of the day, my contract (with the Broncos) really is only a one-year contract," Manning told Paige. "That is the fact of the matter, so I think you do play with a sense of urgency."
Playing on a one-year contract is nothing new to Manning. Designated with the franchise tag before the 2011 lockout, Manning signed a five-year, $90 contract that included $54.4 million in guaranteed money. That was essentially a one-year contract, and after Manning missed the entire 2011 season due to neck injury, he was released before a $28 million option bonus was due.
"Certainly, we're trying to get something started here, and want it to happen now," Manning said. "I've always kind of felt that way since I turned 30. You really have to play for this year. A lot of players on this year's team won't be on next year's team.
"So, if you're saying, 'Hey, we've got a two- or three-year plan here', I'm not sure anybody on the team wants to hear that, and the coaches don't want to hear that."
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