DENVER, Colorado — Think of all the great players the Broncos had on their 2015 Super Bowl team. Peyton Manning. Demaryius Thomas. Emmanuel Sanders. DeMarcus Ware. Aqib Talib. Chris Harris Jr.
Even Von Miller. None of them got two contract extensions from the team. One player on that Super Bowl team did. Brandon McManus, the kicker. With one year and $3 million left on his first contract extension, he and the Broncos reached agreement Friday evening to extend his deal another four years through the 2024 season.
McManus will still get the $3 million salary before his new deal begins but to help tide him over, he will get $5.5 in bonuses that will be paid out in splits of immediately and in March.
He is the first Bronco to receive two contract extensions since cornerback Champ Bailey, who played 10 seasons with the team from 2004-13. Bailey was elected into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 2019.
"I can’t thank John Elway enough. Joe Ellis, the Bowlen family -- I met Pat Bowlen once, but the Bowlen family has been great to me,'' McManus said in an interview with 9News. "They traded me for me in 2014 after I was cut twice by the Colts and the Cowboys and to now have two new extensions, it means a lot to me and my family.”
A native of Philadelphia, McManus and his wife Nadia and their three young boys have made Denver home. Contract extension talks began at the NFL Combine in the final week of February but really heated up in recent weeks.
A couple factors helped McManus get his second extension. One, his remarkable consistency inside 50 yards. In the past two years, he leads all NFL kickers with a 97.2 percent conversion rate by making 103 of 106 field goal and 33-yard extra-point kicks from inside the 50 yard line.
This year, he has set goals of making every kick from 49 yards on in and 80 percent of his field goals from at least 50 yards out.
"I haven't made a Pro Bowl, yet, so I'd like to do that," McManus said. "But obviously what I'd most like to do is help the Broncos get another Lombardi Trophy."
McManus was a perfect 13 of 13 in kicks (10 of 10 field goals) during the 2015 postseason. He made all three of his field goal attempts and an extra point in the Broncos' 24-10 win against Carolina in Super Bowl 50. No wonder McManus and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller are the only two Broncos players remaining from that championship season.
The other factor: Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. In his final season as defensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears in 2018, Fangio's team would have advanced deeper in the playoffs had it not been for kicker mishaps.
Knowing good kickers are hard to find, and keep, Fangio gave his nod to general manager John Elway on the subject of extending McManus.
This after the coach made his kicker visibly angry last season when he didn't let him try what would have been an NFL record-breaking, 65-yard field goal just before halftime of a December 1 game against the Chargers at Empower Field at Mile High. Matt Prater, whom McManus replaced in 2014, holds the record with a 64-yard field goal, which he booted through the frigid December air at Mile High.
McManus channeled his ire into making 52- and 53-yard field goals in the fourth quarter of that game to give Denver a 23-20 win. In the final six games last season, McManus converted 11 of 12 in field goals and 11 of 11 extra points.
>> Video above: Broncos trivia with Brandon McManus
McManus is ranked 12th in the league in field-goal percentage (29 of 34, 85.3%) and 13th in 33-yard, extra point percentage (25 of 26, 96.2%). He’s made 103-of-106 kicks under 50 yards in the last 2 years (including 33-yd extra points). That is 97.2 %
McManus has been making kicks in Denver ever since he replaced Matt Prater in 2014. Prater was sensational as the Broncos’ kicker from 2011-13, setting an NFL record that still holds with a 64-yard field goal in December 2013.
But after Prater was slapped with a four-game suspension to start the 2014 season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, the Broncos acquired McManus from the New York Giants for a conditional 7th-round draft pick.
The condition was McManus had to stick with the Broncos after Prater’s suspension elapsed. The 7th rounder was sent to New York.
"I was happy to finally have an opportunity," McManus said. "At the time there was not a lot of young kickers and it was really tough to get your foot in the door whereas now there’s a lot more younger guys. The previous year I was with the Indianapolis Colts, I didn’t miss a field goal. I led the NFL in kickoffs (touchback percentage). Same year with the Giants, I didn’t miss a field goal and I led the NFL in kickoff stats.
"I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting an opportunity. It was difficult to get your foot in the door so I was really happy to at least get four games out there and potentially showcase what I could do and I was able to perform pretty well.
"I can say it now six years later: They were pretty easy kicks I had the first four games. But I was happy I was able to stick around here and continue to perform here in Denver."
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