ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Hold that gold watch. Peyton Manning is taking one more shot at the silver trophy.
Weeks of speculation about the five-time MVP's future ended Wednesday with word that he's returning for an 18th season in the NFL and fourth in Denver.
A person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that Manning will take a $4 million pay cut, from $19 million to $15 million, but that he can make it all back through performance incentives. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement of the deal.
Manning will take his physical and sign his revised contract Thursday, then return April 13 for team conditioning.
Manning mulled retirement after the Broncos' playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts. But he determined he still had the health and hunger to keep playing at age 39, when he tries to become the oldest QB to win a Super Bowl.
Manning, who won a title with the Colts in 2006, met with general manager John Elway a few weeks ago after taking some time to decompress from an arduous season and told him he wasn't ready to retire. Reminiscent of Brett Favre's annual flirtations with retirement, however, this saga dragged on as the Broncos and Manning's representatives reworked the quarterback's contract.
The $4 million savings won't drastically change Denver's free agency plans. It gives Elway about $20 million to work with, but much of that will go to his own restricted free agents and a large draft class.