Even in days where I’m absolutely swamped, which, if you’re a loyal follower of this website, you would be well aware of, I still hold an opinion. My opinion concerning that of Peyton Manning, who is set to be cut by the Indianapolis Colts this afternoon, follows a similar structure to that mentioned above.
Ultimately, Manning will make a decision as to where to play next season after recovering from more neck surgeries than one can count on two hands. Assuming he is fully recovered, he will be the same quarterback, and more importantly, football mind that can take over as the field general and lead his respective squad on a crusade that we’ve become accustomed too. While it’s a large assumption at that, no one will question his credentials.
Yet fans like to fantasize. When fans fantasize, the media only caters to it.
No general managers or owners have spoken on the Manning situation confirming any interest. Nor should they at this point. For anyone to make suggestions that there have been declarations of desire for Manning at this point is nothing short of tomfoolery, and poor reporting. I don’t need “sources” telling me this. I don’t need falsified outlets or editorials trying to convince me otherwise.
There are a handful of teams with actual interest in the 13-year veteran. And rightfully so, they are remaining mum, even amid rampant speculation. How do I know them? Because I use a method that only the Mayans used themselves, and not many others do today.
In no particular order:
It makes all too much sense for the Dolphins to pursue a new quarterback, and they will. The Chad Henne days have come to a close, and it now comes to a point where they must make a decision as to where they build the franchise from here.
There is, of course, the option of trading up for the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, and selecting Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck (pending on who is available), and centering around youth. With this method, the risk is run of not only having the weight of a franchise carried on a rookie’s shoulder (even though Manning himself knows what that is like), but relying on him to establish immediate chemistry with the Dolphins’ receivers.
Then there is the alternative route of signing Manning, without needing to relish any picks or players. If Manning is signed, a short-term plan (an estimate of two seasons, give or take) is established. Win, and win quickly. Pairing a rookie head coach in Joe Philbin with a mind like Manning could be a powerful combination due to the former’s experience in the league working with star quarterbacks, and could bring out the best in someone like Brandon Marshall.
A wild-card in this situation is the potential inclusion of one Reggie Wayne. Wayne, who is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, could serve as a dangerous package inclusion in any Manning deal. The Dolphins would need to commit nearly all of its cap to the two players, but it may be worth while.
Just a year after making the playoffs at 7-9, Seattle found itself missing the postseason at 7-9 once again.
It is clear that Tarvaris Jackson is not the long-term solution for the Seahawks, nonetheless a short-term one, and neither is Charlie Whitehurst. To go along with that, Richi Cimini of ESPN claims to have heard that the team will throw just about whatever they must at Manning to bring him in, which should come as little surprise.
There is no doubt that a healthy Manning would flourish in the NFC West, even with the new-powerhouse 49ers. What is in question with Seattle is the talent that would surround him. Dough Baldwin and Golden Tate would be his two options on the left and right, which may instill doubt as to whether simply one player can save this squad.
Also up for debate would be how the nearly-36-year-old Manning would flourish in head coach Pete Carroll’s system. If Seattle were to come down with him, some other additions would likely be needed as well, be it through free agency or the draft.
The reason it is so tough to make a clear-cut declaration on Manning’s next destination is because of the uncertainty with the second-overall pick in the draft. As the Rams prepare to deal it, Washington could be one of the teams that may get involved for it.
Should they not though, this team screams for the ex-Colts star.
Owner Dan Snyder will gladly toss as much money as Manning desires at his feet. He’ll fly him in on Pegasus himself, with a white-carpet rolled outside of FedEx Field. He’ll be treated to the finest dining Maryland has to offer (I hope Peyton likes crab cakes!), alongside a personal massage therapist to treat his neck whenever it hurts.
The Redskins offer Manning the security of someone like Santana Moss and a promising tailback in Roy Helu. The defense has potential, and there are worse offensive lines out there.
In this case though, it comes down to competition. The Super Bowl champion New York Giants along with the division-winning Dallas Cowboys sport potent offenses, and the Eagles are still out to prove themselves to be a force to be reckoned with. Peyton would have to face his brother Eli twice a year, which could also be a deciding factor (not out of fear, but the madness that surrounds it).
Should he forgo this, Washington is a legitimate contender for his services.
New York Jets
The Jets will look at Manning, and admit failure in Mark Sanchez in doing so. This team set up a blockbuster deal back in 2009 to acquire the former Trojan, and received two AFC Championship appearances under him.
With Sanchez’s lack of consistency and his clubhouse character have brought about many calling for his head in New York, it is no surprise this franchise will panic and look towards Manning.
No, it would not be to “mentor” Sanchez. That theory is ridiculous, especially considering the two appearances in the conference championship game. It would be to replace Sanchez as the starting quarterback on the team. Whether it would result in the trading of Sanchez, I am not sure, but this would be a full-scale replacement deal.
The Jets sport a talented but hot-headed wideout in Santonio Holmes, and a lethal tight end option in Dustin Keller. While Plaxico Burress is likely on his way out, they could also try to look for a rental receiver to take his place for the time being.With a new offensive coordinator and a defense-first head coach in Rex Ryan, Manning would likely be able to call much of the shots in the Meadowlands as well.
The issue with the Jets, however, is the lack of offensive line. Why would it be plausible to come back from numerous surgeries, just to get hammered by AFC East defensive linesmen? Would Manning really put himself at that risk with little improvement from the Jets? Throw this factor in with questions remaining in the backfield, and a fit seems a little less likely.
Is it too early to call the Kevin Colb experiment a bust? Many would believe not, as John Skelton took over as quarterback midway through last season. While his play certainly was not awful, this is Peyton Manning being discussed.
The possibilities of what Manning could do with a guy like Larry Fitzgerald catching his passes are endless. For this scenario to work though, signing Wayne in a package deal would be incredibly beneficial. It could propel Arizona back to the top of the NFC where they were just a few years ago, and could hold it for a couple of seasons even.
While many questions remain about the rest of the squad, playing in the NFC West works greatly in Arizona’s favor in this situation. Manning would once again receive the opportunity to call the shots, and with a healthy Beanie Wells, could make a move in the division. It’s an awful lot of assuming to say that Wayne would join him, but it’s certainly not impossible.
Not only all this, but they’ve got the cash to throw at him as well if they want to.
There are none. That is the issue at hand here. The hyperbole surrounding this is ridiculous. There will be no Manning in Houston. There will be no Manning backing up Tom Brady in New England. Not even Jacksonville, in all of its misery, or Oakland, in all of its Carson Palmer, can take on someone of his magnitude.
Realistically speaking, the only other potential team that could sneak its way in, in this writer’s opinion, would be the Tennessee Titans. That, however, will be relative to what they decide to do going forward, between Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker.
So it is now important to bring an end to the ridiculous hype before it gets worse. Do not expect the unexpected with Peyton Manning. If I’m wrong, so be it, but do not expect this to get out of hand. He will go where he needs too.
And only he knows where. And we will soon too.