Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) wipes his eyes before the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
They can’t, because…
Too little money, too many needs
It’s no secret that John Elway will probably be penny-pinching this offseason. With numerous high-profile player contracts to address, of which include Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, and Terrance Knighton, the Broncos will surely lose out on more than just a few of their integral pieces.
The talent on the free agent market is truly the best we’ve seen in some time, but after Elway finishes dealing with his own player’s contracts, not much money will be left to spend on the Bryan Bulagas of the world.
For the players that do decide to move on from the Broncos, money will still be tight so adequately replacing them will be more difficult for Elway than in years past.
All of their 2015 regular season schedule
Granted, the opposition the Broncos will face this upcoming season will be easier than in 2014, but not by much. Denver’s brutal 2014 schedule left the once promising Bronco team hiding in a corner with their tails between their legs by seasons end.
Their scheduled home opponents alone cannot save them from the brutality of their whole schedule of having to play the AFC North (three playoff teams), NFC North (two playoff teams), the Colts, and the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots.
Peyton Manning’s age, health
Ultimately, the Broncos’ success in 2015-2016 will hinge on the health of quarterback Peyton Manning, plain and simple.
This proved to be true in Denver’s drubbing in the divisional round at the hands of the Colts. Manning had one of his worst, if not the worst, game he’s ever had as a Bronco. Over the course of the last month or so of the season, his play continuously got worse and his numbers greatly fell.
Now, his return to the Broncos has been up in air for over a month.
If/when he does announce his return for an 18th season in the NFL, there’s still no guarantee he’ll be the same quarterback we’ve seen in previous years. The quad injury he dealt with late last season coupled with his weakening arm strength may continue to hold the Broncos Super Bowl aspirations at arms length.