Restricted free agent Brandon McManus signed his second-round tender with the Broncos, Wednesday afternoon. The one-year contract is worth $2.8 million and a long-term deal is still possible, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Despite not having a contract, McManus participated fully in offseason programs.
The 25-year-old was the last Bronco on the roster without a contract. McManus is Denver’s 12th all-time leading scorer and ranks first in career field goal percentage among all Broncos with at least 20 attempts, ahead of Matt Prater, Jason Elam and David Treadwell.
McManus was the unsung hero of the 2016 Super Bowl run, when he converted all 10 of his postseason field goal attempts. He scored 33 of the Broncos’ 67 points during the 2016 postseason. In the 23-16 Divisional Round win over the Steelers, McManus made all five of his attempts (an NFL playoff record), including four of at least 40 yards.
As a restricted free agent, the Broncos had the option to place a tender on McManus. John Elway chose a second-round tender and the $2.8 million salary it carries. Had another team signed McManus, they would have been required to send Denver their second-round draft pick. The Broncos also had the right of first refusal and could have matched another team’s offer and kept their kicker.
After setting records at Temple University in points scored and field goals made, and winning the College Football Performance Awards Specialist Trophy given to college football’s best kicker, McManus entered the 2013 NFL Draft but was not selected. He signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent shortly after its conclusion. Despite making his only attempt in the 2013 preseason, a fifty-yarder against the Giants, he was blocked on the depth chart by three-time All-Pro Adam Vinatieri. McManus was released and spent the rest of his rookie year as a free agent.
Upon the conclusion of the 2013 regular season, the Giants signed McManus to compete with veteran Josh Brown. McManus possessed the stronger leg, but his 6-foot-3 frame made him fairly erratic. He was traded to the Broncos prior to the start of the 2014 season, in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft pick.
McManus arrived in Denver as a replacement for then-Bronco Matt Prater who was suspended for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Prater entered into the league’s substance abuse program after a 2011 DUI. He was released upon his reinstatement four weeks into the season.
In 2014, McManus beat out veteran Connor Barth in training camp. But once the regular season started, McManus struggled, only converting nine of his 13 field goal attempts, with a long of just 44 yards. He was benched after Week 11 in favor of Barth.
In the two years since, McManus has ranked in the top half of the NFL in field goal percentage and become a staple in the special teams room. His clutch kicks during the 2015 season earned him an AFC Special Teams Player of the Month award. He frequently makes attempts of at least 70 yards in practice and pre-game warmups. If the 25-year-old continues to improve his accuracy, McManus could become one of the best Broncos kickers of all time.