INDIANAPOLIS -- More than three weeks after the Denver Broncos took home the Lombardi Trophy, the franchise remains in quarterback limbo moving forward. Peyton Manning is living up to his plan to soak in his second Super Bowl victory, and team president John Elway is affording him that time.
But the clock is ticking.
Most assumed Manning would ride off into the sunset after 18 seasons, but he has not made any public statements since Super Bowl 50. Meanwhile, the Broncos have a pending decision to make with backup Brock Osweiler, who is set to become a free agent on March 9 and could command an annual salary in the $12-15 million range.
"I think the bottom line is we made a decision on how we're going to go about it," head coach Gary Kubiak said about Manning's situation at the NFL combine on Wednesday. "There's no hurry here. We want him to enjoy what just took place, and we'll go from there.
"Nothing has changed there. I think he and John have had some conversations, and I had a brief one with him. We want him to take his time, and we'll go from there."
Kubiak did acknowledge there is a timeframe involved, and a decision date is rapidly approaching -- especially if the Broncos are going to attempt to re-sign Osweiler. Manning must make a decision by March 8, as his $19 million salary for 2016 would become fully guaranteed the following day.
If Manning indeed decides to retire, Denver must decide how aggressive they are willing to be in their attempt to keep Osweiler, or take a look at a handful of other veterans who are expected to be on the market. Osweiler showed promise in eight appearances last season, throwing for 1,967 yards while completing 61.8 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns against six interceptions and going 5-2 as a starter.
"He has a bright future, obviously we think the world of him, and we want him to be part of our football team," Kubiak said.
But the Broncos cannot afford to keep everyone. It will be a busy week at the combine for Elway, who is expected to meet with the representatives for several of the Broncos' key free agents, including Osweiler, pass rusher Von Miller and defensive end Malik Jackson. Other Broncos free agents include inside linebacker Danny Trevathan, running back Ronnie Hillman, left guard Evan Mathis, offensive tackles Ryan Harris and Tyler Polumbus, safety David Bruton Jr., wide receivers Jordan Norwood and Andre Bubba Caldwell, cornerback Omar Bolden, defensive lineman Antonio Smith, tight end Vernon Davis and offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus.
It's a daunting task list, and it all begins at the game's most pivotal position.
"There's obviously time frames in our business," Kubiak said about Manning. "But we kind of went through this last year and we're going to go about it bow we did it last year."