As A Thank-You For Luring Peyton Manning, The Broncos Sign Brandon Stokley

Brandon Stokley: great guy. Beloved teammate. Hell of a possession receiver, once upon a time. But he's coming up on 36 years old, gets hurt every year, and racked up a single reception in 2011 before injuring his quad in September before reaching an injury settlement with the Giants. So presumably the Broncos could do better to fill the slot hole left by the departed Eddie Royal.

But then, remember this: When Peyton Manning came to Colorado on his free agency tourstravaganza, Stokley was always there. He put Manning up at his house on more than one occasion this offseason, and it was Stokley to whom Manning threw for his informal Broncos workout. No Brandon Stokley, and maybe Manning's a Titan right now.

But Manning's a Bronco, and now so is Stokley. Today he signed a one-year deal with Denver (as predicted by Peter King in his Manning saga breakdown), and while there's no word on guaranteed money, the Broncos offer of "something" is better than the likely "nothing" Stokley would have gotten elsewhere. Sure, part of this is making Manning happy—hey, here's a familiar face to hang out with!—but it's also a headhunter fee. And hey, maybe Stokley's got something left. There's another 36-year-old on the team who the Broncos trust enough to guarantee $18 million.