ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —If the value of a kicker is established in the highest-leverage situations, then the Broncos learned all they needed to know about Brandon McManus during the 2015 postseason.
During the Broncos' run to their third world championship, McManus was perfect, hitting all 10 of his field-goal attempts during Denver's postseason run, including five from beyond 40 yards. Two of the successful kicks were from beyond 50 yards, including a 52-yarder that proved decisive in a 20-18 AFC Championship Game win over the New England Patriots.
McManus came through for the Broncos when they needed him most, and that's a big part of why the Broncos agreed to a new four-year contract with him Monday.
But that's only part of McManus' success story. With a career field-goal percentage of 84.8 (including postseason), he is the most accurate placekicker in Broncos history. He also is among the league leaders on kickoffs, and ranked ninth in the league in touchback percentage last year (64.6 percent).
The 2016 season marked the third consecutive year in which McManus was in the league's top 10 in touchback percentage; he ranked fourth in 2015 (70.5 percent) and 2014 (70.3 percent).
McManus first joined the team in 2014 and he showed resiliency in overcoming a frustrating start to his career. He hit 69.2 percent of his placekicks that season before being waived in November. He was briefly placed on the practice squad and then restored to the 53-man roster as a kickoff specialist for the rest of that season.
In the following offseason, McManus changed his technique, removing a jab step from his approach to the football. His accuracy immediately improved. Since then, he has been one of the league's most accurate kickers, hitting 87.3 percent of his field-goal attempts -- 2.4 percentage points above the league average, including 8-of-16 from 50 yards or longer.
McManus' extraordinary range extends to 73 yards, a distance from which he hit in practice last month.
"That's a true weapon," Head Coach Vance Joseph said on the day McManus hit that kick.
And for the next four seasons, that weapon will keep firing in orange and blue.