That's the nice way to put it. Another way to say it is Manning was forced to take a pay cut to keep his job. Reports indicated the Broncos wanted to slash Manning's salary by more than half, from $19 million to $9 million, after an injury-plagued year for the aging star. Eventually the two sides agreed on a $4 million reduction in base salary that could be earned back through incentives.
Those escalators included $2 million for an AFC Championship Game victory and another $2 million for a conquest in Super Bowl 50. Manning is halfway home after Sunday.
We imagine it's not fun for general manager John Elway to think about shelling out $17 million for a quarterback who nearly led the NFL in interceptions in just nine regular-season starts. Then again, Manning has been, you know, fine in the postseason and even threw two touchdown passes in Sunday's 20-18 win over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
All of this sets up Manning for what could be the greatest day of his life (the birth of his kids and wedding day and BLAH BLAH BLAH not withstanding). If the Broncos find a way to get past the Carolina Panthers, Manning would win that elusive second Lombardi, likely retire at the top of his profession, put the final touches on his Best Quarterback Ever presentation annnnnnd pocket two million bucks.
Now that's a Sunday funday.