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Manning missed the entire 2011 season following multiple neck surgeries, and was released by the Colts two weeks earlier on March 7, one day before the Colts were due to pay him a $28 million roster bonus.
Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans were also in pursuit of the former Colts' quarterback; however, Manning informed Broncos' personnel to begin contract negotiations with the team on March 19, The language of the contract contained the following conditions: Manning did not suffer a setback in his recovery from neck surgery prior to the end of the 2012 season; therefore, the Broncos owed Manning $18 million for the 2012 season.
Manning passed a physical exam at the beginning of the 2013 league year, The Broncos kicked off their 2012 season at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football, in a rematch of their 2011 Wild Card playoff game.
The 2012 Denver Broncos season was the franchise's 43rd season in the National Football League, the 53rd overall and the second under head coach John Fox.
The offseason was dominated by the signing of former Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning on March 20, leading to the team trading incumbent quarterback Tim Tebow and a seventh-round selection to the New York Jets in exchange for two draft selections.
While the Broncos did not have a first-round selection in the 2012 NFL draft, the team selected Derek Wolfe as the team's first pick in the second round of the draft.Throughout the season, Peyton Manning set numerous individual, franchise and league records, including 300-yard passing games and game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime.Another team record that was set during the season was linebacker Von Miller's 18.5 quarterback sacks.After a 2–3 start to the season, the Broncos finished the regular season on an eleven-game winning streak, and with a record of 13–3, the team exceeded their win total from the previous two seasons combined.The Broncos won their second consecutive AFC West division title, as well as earning a first-round bye and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, but were narrowly defeated by the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional round by a double-overtime score of 38–35.On March 20, 2012, the Broncos reached an agreement with former Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning on a five-year, $96 million contract.