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Where Will Peyton Manning Take His Talents?

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It’s not often that one of the best quarterbacks of all-time hits the open market. However with Peyton Manning being cut, that’s precisely the situation that has taken over the NFL landscape. As of this morning, a reported 12 teams have already contacted his representation about bringing him in for a workout. Ultimately, the decision lies with Peyton, but let’s examine his possible landing spots and why they make sense.

New York Jets – 2011 Record: 8-8

Why it makes sense: Mark Sanchez is terrible, not only terrible, but really terrible. He’s the Kim Kardashian of quarterbacks, pleasant to look at, but with very little discernable talent. The Jets are in a tricky position because he is also very marketable and don’t have anyone waiting in the wings to take over. Signing Manning, a once in a generation opportunity would let Rex Ryan off the hook for his inane comments about sticking with Sanchez “for as long as he’s head coach”.

Why it doesn’t: The Jets are coming off of a majorly disappointing season with reports of a toxic locker room environment and building dissention. While they do offer Peyton the biggest market to showcase his talents that would mean Peyton would (for once) step into his brother’s shadow in brother’s stadium. While it would let Ryan’s mouth off the hook for now, I just don’t see how he and Peyton could coincide long-term given their personality differences.

Houston Texans – 2011 Record: 10-6

Why it makes sense: Peyton Manning would immediately make the Texans the odds-on favorites to win the AFC. If Peyton wants to win now, signing withHouston would give him the best opportunity to do that. Pairing him with Andre Johnson and Arian Foster would be a nightmare for opposing defenses.

Why it doesn’t: The Texans already have a very competent quarterback in Matt Schaub. Even though he’s coming off an injury he has become one of the faces of the franchise. While he would realize that Peyton Manning is a legendary quarterback, that doesn’t mean that he would automatically play nice. It also doesn’t mean that the players in the locker room would immediately buy-in to the idea given that Schaub has been their leader for the past five seasons and averaged a passer rating of 95+.

Miami Dolphins – 2011 Record: 6-10

Why it makes sense: They have some solid pieces on offense and while Matt Moore was fairly impressive (in a Kyle Orton sort of way), I don’t think anyone is looking at him as a franchise quarterback (also much like Orton). Manning would transform the Dolphins into a playoff team, but even with him are still a couple years away from Super Bowl contention.

Why it doesn’t: Despite already owning a home inMiami, I just can’t see Peyton Manning andSouthBeach going all that well together. Flash-forward: Week 3, Peyton Manning strolls into Dream Nightclub in an all-white two-piece suit, no shirt, Gucci sunglasses on and a member of his posse holding an umbrella over him at all times. Walks up to the bar, orders the Manning (Gran Centenario Rosangel with a splash of lemon juice… smooth and classy with a touch of Manning-Face inspiring sour). He downs the drink, gets up on the bar, rips his jacket off and yells “LADIES!!!! SERVICE ME!!!” See… I told you it just doesn’t make sense.

Denver Broncos – 2011 Record: 8-8

Why it makes sense: Aside from the New England game(s),Denver’s defense has proven to become a pretty solid unit. The offense has talent at just about every position and AFC West is a very winnable division. The addition of Peyton would almost certainly guarantee the Broncos another playoff spot. Signing Manning is pretty much the only way that John Elway can successfully navigate the stormy backlash from not starting Tim Tebow.

Any media press conferences would go as follows:

Reporter: “Do you feel this is fair to Tim, seeing as he guided you to the 2nd round of the playoffs?”

Elway: “It’s Peyton Manning”

Reporter: “But, Tim Teb—”

Elway (interjecting): “It’s Peyton Manning”

Why it doesn’t: Manning would face scrutiny from media/fans for the first time in his career. There will be a sizable amount of people who would take Tim Tebow as their quarterback over anyone aside from Jesus himself. Perhaps that isn’t something that he would want to deal with in his career twilight years.

Kansas City Chiefs – 2011 Record: 7-9

Why it makes sense: Matt Cassel is a glorified Matt Moore/Kyle Orton-type. Occasionally shows flashes, mostly just fizzles. Much like withDenver, signing Peyton Manning would make the Chiefs the easy-favorites to win the AFC West. They have the running game (assuming Jamaal Charles comes back at 100%). They have a solid weapon in Dwayne Bowe and Romeo Crennel should certainly give a defensive unit that expected big things in 2011 the boost that they need to excel.

Why it doesn’t: Not too many people willingly go toKansas City. It’s one of those places where people try to get out of. Can you name the last big name free agent to sign with the Chiefs? Marcus Allen? I think he may actually be the only big name (at the time of free agency) to sign with the Chiefs in their history. Manning agreeing to play in the dust-bowl seems a little far fetched and they have a sizable amount of money invested inCassel.

San Francisco 49ers – 2011 Record: 13-3

Why it makes sense: The 49ers really do have all the pieces to make a run at a Super Bowl. QB Alex Smith enjoyed a career rejuvenation under Jim Harbaugh and you can only imagine how well Peyton would do in his system.

Why it doesn’t: Peyton would prefer to stay in the AFC. Add to that Harbaugh’s commitment to Alex Smith, the issue of cost, and whether or not Harbaugh would be comfortable giving Manning the ability to do whatever he wanted on offense.

Seattle Seahawks – 2011 Record: 7-9

Why it makes sense: If it turns into a recruiting war, my money is on Pete Carroll. Few on this Earth are better at promising the world than Pete. On top of thatSeattle has a pretty talented group but a Grand Canyon-sized hole at the quarterback position. If Peyton decides to relocate west and brings his buddy Reggie Wayne with him, the Seahakws could find themselves playing deep into January.

Why it doesn’t: They play in the NFC and Seattle isn’t exactly right around the corner. Well, it’s in the corner, as far away from the southeastern United States as possible. Their offensive line is good, not great, and protecting Peyton should be of utmost importance or wherever he goes may not be long-lived.  

Washington Redskins – 2011 Record: 5-11

Why it makes sense: While the battle for the ages between Rex Grossman and John Beck was never truly solved, adding Peyton Manning to the mix would render the both to the unemployment line. The Redskins also have an aggressive owner, cap space and a competent head coach. Still, I see this one as a real longshot.

Why it doesn’t: The Redskins are not very good. Aside from that issue, they not only play in the NFC, but they are in same division as his brother… oh, and there’s this.

Arizona Cardinals – 2011 Record: 8-8

Why it makes sense: Larry Fitzgerald, Larry Fitzgerald, and… Larry Fitzgerald. On top of having Fitz, he would also be in a great climate in a below average division. The Cardinals would probably need to cut ties with their perceived franchise quarterback in Kevin Kolb, but I think they would do that in a heartbeat if Manning came to town.

Why it doesn’t: The Cardinals offensive line gave up 54 sacks last season. Granted none of the Cardinal signal-callers have Peyton’s pocket-presence or quick release, but hits are hits and I think #18 wants to keep those at a minimum. The Cardinals also have the same problem as the 49ers, Seahawks, and Redskins in that they play in the NFC.

Cleveland Browns – 2011 Record: 4-12

Why it makes sense: The Browns don’t currently have an NFL quarterback on their roster. They have guys that play the quarterback position, but I wouldn’t call any of them quarterbacks. It would be like calling the stuff you ingest at Golden Corral food. It has some characteristics of food and may be food-like, but it most certainly is not food.

Why it doesn’t: The Browns are more than just one piece (albeit a big piece) away from Super Bowl contention. Manning knows this and the fact that he wants to win now is a big strike against the Browns. Added to that, GM Tom Heckert wants to build through the draft or die trying and has already come out and said that Manning is “probably not a direction they will go”.

Outside Contenders:

Jacksonville Jaguars: New owner Shahid Khan is definitely not happy with how the team is constructed. He wants to make his mark on the franchise and what bigger mark could he make than signing the best free agent of all-time?

Oakland Raiders: Seems highly doubtful considering they gave up a lot for Carson Palmer, but one thing I’ve learned is to never underestimate the Raiders… whether Al is alive or watching from… wherever he is watching from.

So, where will he end up? Truthfully, wherever he wants. I can’t imagine any team turning him down, even the Packers would probably take him. Realistically, and casting sensibility aside,Miamihas the look and feel of the clubhouse leader at this point. According to reports we will know within a week where he will play and the dominoes will all start falling into place.


One Response to “Where Will Peyton Manning Take His Talents?”

  1. I like Golden Corral

    Posted by Luke | March 9, 2012, 1:34 pm

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