Broncos reportedly have zero interest in Eli Manning, want different QB


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Six years ago, Peyton Manning left the only pro team he had ever known to join the Denver Broncos. Could little brother Eli Manning follow suit?

Many Broncos fans are hoping so, as Peyton brought the franchise to two Super Bowls, winning one.

The Broncos already have a Super Bowl-caliber defense as they’ve ranked in the top four in yards allowed in four straight seasons.

But General Manager John Elway apparently has other plans for the quarterback position as Eli Manning is not even under consideration, according to Broncos insider Troy Renck of KMGH-TV in Denver.

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When told the Broncos need to go after Eli Manning, Renck used all of six words to shut down that notion.

So if, as Renck said, signing Kirk Cousins is the Broncos’ Plan A and they will have Plans B and C lined up, that means Manning isn’t even among the top three candidates for Denver.

Peyton still lives in Denver and has a good relationship with Elway, but that apparently isn’t a deciding factor here. There’s also the question of whether Eli would be interested in joining the Broncos, as he’s made it clear that he wants to stay in New York.

Cousins is nearly eight years younger than Eli, and he also has the backing of someone close to Elway. Cousins was drafted by Mike Shanahan in 2012, and Shanahan coached Elway for 10 seasons with two Super Bowl victories along the way.

The path to obtaining Cousins will also be easier than it would be to get Manning. Cousins will be a free agent this offseason after playing under the franchise tag for consecutive seasons. The Redskins could sign Cousins to a long-term contract or put the franchise tag on him again, but neither of those is seen as likely.

Washington and Cousins have tried to negotiate a long-term contract in each of the last two offseasons and nothing came of it. Also, applying the franchise tag on Cousins in 2018 would give him a one-year salary of $34.47 million, which would be $8 million more than any other NFL player is set to earn.

There’s also the fact that Washington coach Jay Gruden has lukewarm praise for his quarterback. In his season-ending press conference, Gruden didn’t exactly give a ringing endorsement of Cousins.

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“It’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding,'” Gruden said, speaking in general. “Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. … He’s a very, very good quarterback, without a doubt, but as far as getting us over the hump from 7-9 to winning the division with all the injuries we had, he competed and did some good things.”

Gruden was very, very economical in his praise of Cousins, but was quick to applaud the efforts of other Redskins. He highlighted the team’s three Pro Bowlers (Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff) and said that those players “jump out.”

The trio of Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch combined for 19 touchdowns and 22 interceptions this season in Denver. None of the three had more touchdowns than interceptions or posted a winning record in his starts.

Osweiler is a free agent and is expected to hit the open market. Siemian and Lynch are still on their rookie deals, and both are expected back in 2018, albeit in backup roles.

Coach Vance Joseph will also be back in 2018 after speculation that he would be one-and-done in Denver.

Joseph and his assistants will get a jump start on the 2018 NFL draft as the Broncos staff will coach at the Senior Bowl on Jan. 27 in Alabama.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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