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Wed 04/03/2015 - 17:35 EST

Peyton Manning Officially Will Play In 2015 NFL Season

Did you really think Peyton Manning was going to retire after a loss in one of the  worst playoff games of his career? Manning is about to make it official he will play again in the 2015 season with the news that he has reportedly agreed to take a pay cut to help the Broncos perhaps bring back a few of their key free agents -- Manning definitely wants tight end Julius Thomas back.

Manning will make $15 million in base salary in 2015, down from the $19 million he was scheduled to earn. The contract will not be final until Manning passes a physical exam. If the deal is finalized and signed, it will be Manning's 18th NFL season since the Indianapolis Colts selected him as the first pick in the 1998 NFL draft.

This is the first time Manning has ever taken a pay cut. Manning, who will turn 39 on March 24, is expected to be at Broncos headquarters Thursday to take his physical exam and sign his restructured contract. He will be the sixth-highest paid quarterback in the NFL, laughingly behind No. 5 Jay Cutler ($15.5 million).  Manning will continue to take the latter stages of his career on a year-to-year basis. He has no plans to announce that 2015 will be his final season.

Manning played the last month of the 2014 season with a quadriceps injury and is four seasons removed from a fourth neck surgery. He has spent recent weeks working with trainer Mackie Shilstone, who is known for his work with stand-out performers in the later years of their career. Manning finished fourth in the NFL in passing yards with 4,727 last season, his third year with the Broncos. He threw 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Manning flew to Denver in early February to meet with Denver general manager John Elway and new head coach Gary Kubiak. At that meeting, Manning told his bosses he was physically and mentally ready to play.

Manning's cut will push the Broncos' cap room to $19.5 million. The Broncos are budgeting $12.823 million to account for the franchise tag designated Monday for wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, but the team also has some restricted free agents to offer contract tenders. Other impending unrestricted free agents outside of Julius Thomas include defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, who was one of five team captains last year, safety Rahim Moore, guard/tackle Orlando Franklin and slot receiver Wes Welker.  Elway has plans to bolster an offensive line that has been spotty the previous two seasons as well.

Denver is currently +1500 on Sportsbook.ag to win Super Bowl 50. Here are the Broncos' 2015 opponents.

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