By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist

(CBS) Whether or not Peyton Manning has played his last game for the Broncos, reports now indicate that he’s not done trying to compete in the NFL. Manning has told teammates that he wants to come back in 2016 for a 19th year, at age 40, according to ProFootballTalk.com.

READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Wind Chill Advisory In Effect, Wind Chills Dropping Well Below Zero

How is this going to work, exactly?

It’s easy to assume that this follows some familiar pattern of an all-time great getting another last chance just because he is who he is and was who he was. Some owner will crave the short-term buzz of headlines and the attention he’d bring. It indeed has happened before, even if the lessons of such a move go unlearned.

Denver has to be ready to move on, with coach Gary Kubiak more than ready to run his conservative offense with Brock Osweiler in charge. Kubiak seems to be trying to say the right things about Manning’s attempt at recovery from a list of injuries, but the results this year seem to provide at least some evidence that whatever skills he has left are a less-than-ideal fit for Kubiak’s system.

And that’s part of the problem for Manning, if indeed Broncos football boss John Elway opts to get out from under the $19 million commitment to him next year: Manning still has and needs so much power over the offense.

Any team taking the plunge with Manning next year would be incurring enormous risk, just as the Broncos did when they signed him after the 2011 spinal fusion surgery. That one paid off for them with three playoff appearances and a Super Bowl trip. But the next gamble would have far less upside.

READ MORE: View Live Radar

Say for the sake of argument that Manning recovers enough physically — that his recent trip to a North Carolina foot specialist finds a magic cure for debilitating plantar fasciitis, his ribs stop hurting and he regains the lost feeling in the fingers on his throwing hand that forced him to start wearing a glove to grip the ball. Attribute as much of his obvious decline to those maladies and a mismatch with Kubiak, and then evaluate what bringing him in would entail.

He’s going to have to be the offensive coordinator, essentially, determining what he wants to run and how. Manning will have strong thoughts about personnel, too, already respected enough around the league in that regard to have rumors circulating about front office positions available to him right now should he actually retire. This would have to be a confident, secure organization with a coach and general manager unruffled by a player with outsized gravity who could influence multiple layers of business.

And that’s before the next assumption that Manning would remain healthy enough to play at something resembling his previous ability. It’s entirely possible — if not likely in a reasonable scenario — that a team would have to retrofit itself to accommodate this project, only to abandon it into the hands of some replacement-level backup due to any new injury or a recurrence of an old one.

Put simply, it would be an expensive stunt and not much more. Too much would have to go exactly right, with outcome after outcome along the way coming in at the very highest end of a range of likelihoods.

Denver might be in the best position to negotiate something sensible if it wanted him back, building in contractual protections to mitigate exposure in a deal for less than the current number and keeping Manning from the uncertainty of free agency. But nothing about what’s going on there suggests Elway plans that.

A desperate team might try, however, hoping against hope and making a bad bet against time.

MORE NEWS: Many Chicago Area Schools To Close Or Go Remote Wednesday Due To Extreme Cold

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Boers and Bernstein Show” in afternoon drive. You can follow him on Twitter  @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.