Yesterday, we learned that Peyton Manning had finally agreed to take the pay cut that’d been rumored for weeks. It was a pay cut that looked inevitable; the devil of that reduction was always going to be in the details. How creative John Elway and the Denver Broncos could be with Manning’s 2015 cap number was the ultimate question. Or more appropriately, how far was Denver going to kick the can down the road and how big was that can going to be?

Before we tackle that question, lets focus on the most important fact. PFM is coming back! Once that hit me, three things ran through my head.

Hey, Hancock, call me I’ve got some great ideas for the parade route.

Hooray, I don’t have to cancel my 2015 season tickets because PFM is back! (Okay, I don’t have season tickets, but if I theoretically did now, I don’t have to theoretically cancel them)

And wait, they were fighting over $4 million? Was that really worth it?

Those first two thoughts might have been overreactions.

The Super Bowl isn’t won in March (but if Brock Osweiler was proclaimed the starting quarterback, it would have been all but lost).

I wouldn’t have (theoretically) cancelled my season tickets if Manning had walked (but there’s no doubting I’d have been buying a completely different product).

After learning that Manning’s base salary had been reduced to $15 million from $19 million, wondering whether or not playing chicken with a Hall of Fame quarterback over $4 million is legitimate.

At face value, I’d say absolutely not. With Manning, the Denver Broncos are a contender; without him, they aren’t. Who wouldn’t pay $4 million to be one of the five best teams in the NFL? Even asking the question seems silly.

As the saying goes, though, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Manning’s pay cut isn’t strictly just a loss of money. What Manning and the Broncos agreed to do was make $4 million of his 2015 deal incentive-based. No. 18 can earn a $2 million bonus for winning the AFC Championship Game and another $2 million dollar bonus for winning the Super Bowl. Love it!

Denver netted a little extra cap relief while still giving Manning the ability to make all of the money they promised him four years ago. And, they did that by tying bonuses to two huge team goals.

There’s no doubt what everyone at Dove Valley has their eyes on – a Super Bowl ring. Adding a little extra incentive to reach that goal can’t hurt anyone, including PFM; every veteran should have that carrot dangling in front of their helmet. It also speaks volumes that Manning accepted his bonuses this way.

It‘d been easy for the most statistically prolific quarterback in NFL history to demand stat-based incentives, but that didn’t happen. Manning put team goals above stats and records. Given that No. 18 has fielded droves of criticism regarding his perceived stat/record-based reasons for returning, he deserves credit for that. DeMarcus Ware nor Ryan Clady have agreed to provide cap relief in the form of team incentives.

It’s reasonable to question whether or not cutting Manning’s salary was worth the headache, but that’s done and in the past. Ultimately, Manning deserves credit for providing the Broncos with cap relief, and the Broncos deserve credit for providing him the opportunity to make his money back. This compromise is a win-win.

If Elway has built a team that can reach the NFL playoffs, it’s a success. Once you’re in, it’s a crapshoot. Remember, the Seahawks were one yard away from being back-to-back champions and the Packers were four fluky minutes away from denying them that chance. And the Packers, they were one controversial catch away from not playing on the NFC Championship Game at all. All fans can ask for is a chance.

With PFM, Denver’s chances are realistic (and we can fantasize about parade routes). Without him, we’d be debating merits of a second-round pick who went .500 during his only season as a starter at Arizona State.

Welcome back, Peyton.

(Seriously Hancock, call me; I’ve got some ideas).