What if Peyton Manning had signed in Washington instead of with the Broncos?
Denver was extremely fortunate that quarterback Peyton Manning chose to sign with the Broncos back in 2012.
Broncos General Manager John Elway apparently told then-Redskins coach Mike Shanahan that he believed that Manning really wanted to sign with Washington.
But Manning ultimately chose Denver because of Robert Griffen III being selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 Draft.
When Manning was signed by the Broncos, it basically forced Tim Tebow out of town. Tebow was traded to the New York Jets with a 2012 seventh-round pick for a fourth and a sixth. Those two picks turned into offensive lineman Philip Blake, who never actually suited up for the team for a regular-season game.
What free agents were available if Manning didn’t choose Denver?
If the Broncos were unable to sign Manning, it is possible that they would have stuck with Tebow at least for another year.
They also could have planned for the future — which they actually did even with Manning, as they drafted Brock Osweiler in the second round of the 2012 draft.
There were some free agents that were available other than Manning, but it really was slim pickings.
- Alex Smith, who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs and was a solid starter for them until Patrick Mahomes replaced him. Smith was traded to Washington in 2018.
- Jason Campbell, another player tied to Washington. Signed with the Chicago Bears after two seasons with the Raiders.
The talent levels are not even close. Peyton Manning was better than Smith and, obviously, Campbell.
It is amazing how one signing can affect too much. The Broncos did not have a first-round pick in 2012 because they traded out, but selecting a quarterback after Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III wouldn’t have been smart. The Browns ended up drafting a 28-year old rookie quarterback in Brandon Weeden in the first round.
The next quarterback taken in the draft was Brock Osweiler (who was taken by, yes, the Broncos and was a big part of the team’s Super Bowl 50 team).
Then, this one hurts: 18 picks later, the Seahawks selected Russell Wilson. In terms of long-term, Wilson could have been the answer to the team’s quarterback problems, but would he have won the team a Super Bowl?
Wilson has that running ability that he can use to make plays and is is a 7-time Pro Bowler for the Seahawks. He also won Super Bowl XLVIII against the Broncos (sorry to bring that up). It’s no guarantee that Wilson would succeed in Denver, with the offensive line problems the team has had, but that would have been interesting.
Nick Foles, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Lindley, B.J Coleman, and Chandler Harnish were the final quarterback selections in that draft.
Drew Lock maybe wouldn’t have ended up in Denver
If the Broncos did sign Wilson, Foles, or maybe even Cousins, I’m not sure they would be in the market to go after a quarterback in the second round of the 2019 draft like they did with Drew Lock.
It maybe would have been premature to consider taking a quarterback that high if they had an MVP-type starter who is in his early-30’s, which both Wilson and Foles are.
It is still early in Lock’s career, and it seems as if (at least so far) that the Broncos made the right choice, but things could have been a heck of a lot different had Peyton Manning chose to sign in D.C.
There wouldn’t have been a magical 2013 season
The Broncos had a great season in 2013. Manning threw 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards on their way to a 13-3 record. Manning won Offensive Player of the Year.
Sadly the Broncos lost Super Bowl XLVIII to the Seahawks by a score of 43-8, but that doesn’t make people forget about Manning’s accomplishments.
Peyton Manning is credited for doing so many great things for the Broncos in his time in Denver. There was that possibility that it wouldn’t ever happen, but Broncos Country is so happy that it did.
In the end, we got to see greatness in Denver once again.