DENVER (KUSA) - It's official: Peyton Manning is a member of the Denver Broncos.
He agreed to a five-year, $96 million contract Tuesday morning. The deal's annual average of $19.2 million exceeded the record of $18 million for a multi-year package previously shared by Manning and Patriots QB Tom Brady.
Manning was introduced in Denver during a press conference that started Tuesday afternoon.
"Peyton gives us another chance to win a World Championship." Pat Bowlen, owner and CEO of the Denver Broncos, said Tuesday during the announcement.
"Without the commitment from Mr. Bowlen, we wouldn't have Peyton here today," executive vice president of football operations John Elway said. "Peyton spent time in Denver and realized what a great fan base we have. We're so fortunate that Peyton has picked the Denver Broncos. I believe that he has a lot of great football left in him. We're thrilled that he's elected to play for the Denver Broncos. He's a guy that's a Hall of Famer. My goal is to make Peyton Manning the best quarterback that's ever played the game. He's a guy that raises all boats. He's already made the [Broncos] better. I couldn't be happier that he's chose to play for us. [With that,] I'll introduce the next quarterback of the Denver Broncos."
"I can tell this organization is committed to winning," Manning said. "The Broncos have incredible fans who love this team. I'm glad to be a part of it. In the end, the Broncos were a great fit. I've always had a respect for John Elway. Talking football with John, Coach Fox and his staff made me realize this is a great place to play. I am thrilled to be here and looking forward to meeting my teammates."
ESPN and NFL Network first revealed details of his new contract, which was later confirmed by the Associated Press. NFLN's Albert Breer reported Manning will get $18 million in 2012, but the Broncos do have an escape mechanism after the first year of the contract. Breer stated if Manning remains on the roster next March after passing a postseason physical, he is guaranteed $40 million over the 2013 and 2014 seasons; however further NFLN reports state the contractual language is not finalized, and the pact could essentially end up being a series of one-year deals.
Colts owner Jim Irsay, who released Manning on March 7, released the following statement:
"I congratulate Peyton as he heads to a tremendous organization in the Denver Broncos. We wish him nothing but the best as he continues his Hall of Fame career."
Manning will wear No. 18 in Denver. The Broncos retired the number after QB Frank Tripucka last donned it in 1963 during the franchise's early AFL days.
"It's perfectly OK for him to go ahead and use it," Tripucka recently told The Post. " I would be honored to have him wear it."
Ironically, Irsay's father, Robert, traded the rights of future Hall of Famer John Elway from the Baltimore Colts to the Broncos in 1983. Now Denver's VP of football operations, Elway successfully wooed Manning to the Mile High City on Monday.
Manning informed the 49ers and Titans on Monday that he'd chosen the Broncos, who must next determine the future of 2011 starter Tim Tebow.