|Imagine this...at the VMAC.|
- The regime change in Indianapolis ensures a quarterback change as surely as it did in Carolina a year ago. The availability of Andrew Luck makes it easy for the Colts to move on, and Manning's recent comments, his medical condition, and the team's cap issues only seem to strengthen this likelihood.
- Manning's pay-me-or-cut-me roster bonus is due for a decision before the official start of free agency, effectively eliminating Indy's ability to trade him.
- Peyton has "earned the right to be picky" and will probably be looking for a quieter, lower-pressure division and a young, rising, team with a stable locker room and enough talent to where he won't have to pull his usual elevating-an-entire-team act. That narrows the list of candidates considerably, with Seattle and Arizona standing out.
17 quick blurbs from me on this possibility:
17. La Canfora's article is mere speculation. Sensible, articulate, and exciting speculation, but nonetheless there's no element of Manning's actual intentions in there. For all we know, the anonymous "general managers and executives" that La Canfora cites could refer to Tim Ruskell and Dan Snyder.
16. It needs to be noted that Peyton Manning may never play another down in the NFL. And if he does, he may not be very good. Any spinal injury is crucial to one's mobility and arm strength. The team that signs him (including Indy) will be taking a fairly considerable gamble.
15. It also needs to be noted that Seattle's front office is not stupid. They're going to give Peyton a physical. They're not going to sign a mega-bucks quarterback if they're not convinced he's healthy enough to play like one. If Peyton becomes a Seahawk, that's a vote of confidence from Pete Carroll and John Schneider.
14. Someone else who isn't stupid is Peyton Manning. If he were one hit away from permanent paralysis, he would probably have retired by now. He certainly wouldn't be fighting this hard to return.
13. This front office has a track record of betting against injury anyway - Leon Washington, Walter Thurmond, Sidney Rice, and Robert Gallery being prime examples.
11. A healthy Peyton Manning instantly elevates this team. His accuracy, lightning-quick read, and ability to throw receivers open could transform Mike Williams, Golden Tate, and Zach Miller from sputtering learners into reliable playmakers, and don't even get me started on Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin. Imagine how much running room (and how much less wear and tear) Marshawn Lynch would enjoy against defenses worried about Manning. Other offenses would have to adjust to our ability to score, allowing our defense more freedom to adapt. Peyton has been doing all this for over a decade, and if he can replicate 80% of it here, he's an upgrade over anyone we have now.
10. For those worried about our offensive line, keep in mind that Peyton has played behind a mediocre-to-bad offensive line for years. He's not only survived, but flourished. The speed of his game allows him to get rid of the ball before common pass rush can get anywhere near him. He protects himself with his game, as all good quarterbacks do to one degree or another. Besides, we needn't assume that James Carpenter will remain rookie-bad after a full offseason.
9. I've seen some say that signing older free agents to big contracts is not part of the Pete Carroll and John Schneider blueprint. My opinion is that Carroll and Schneider's blueprint is to do whatever it takes to be competitive in the present, and they're not going to be dogmatic about how (e.g. anointing Tarvaris Jackson before training camp). They're the rare front office that plans to win now while still building for the future, and has a gift for making it happen. The question is whether Manning would benefit the team now without blocking its future. I think he'd fit that bill nicely, certainly taking some of the heat off the front office in their search for a franchise quarterback.
8. As far as the finances are concerned, another perk regarding Manning - one that made Matt Flynn appealing - is that he wouldn't cost any draft picks. Nor is Seattle hurting for cap room right now, or talent elsewhere on the roster. We're in a stronger position than some realize. And even if sacrifices are necessary, is anyone really that worried about losing Red Bryant or Leroy Hill if it means picking up the greatest quarterback of the last decade and handing him more talent than Indianapolis ever gave him? I'd hope not.
7. Not worried about OC Darell Bevell ruining Manning. Bevell isn't popular here right now (for good reason), but nobody was complaining about him when he had Brett Favre. Nor did anybody complain about Tom Brady's offensive coordinators in New England, even though none of them have done much since they moved on. I'm of the opinion that it's more about the talent at the OC's disposal then the OC's own talent - you can do more when your offense is better. Manning IS an offensive scheme, in and of himself.
6. There was no #12 in this list. This is in honor of the 12th Man.
5. You scrolled back up to see for yourself that there was no #12, didn't you? Haha.
4. It could be interesting to see Peyton playing with a chip on his shoulder over being ousted from Indy.
3. It could also be interesting to see him mentor our next quarterback of the future, once he arrives.
2. Could Manning's ego be an issue? Will we end up with another Favre scenario? It's worth pondering. The front office will need an exit strategy if the QBOTF shows up sooner after Peyton's acquisition rather than later. But I don't see Peyton as another cluelessly over-the-hill QB who holds up his team and the whole national media because he can't make up his mind.
1 1/2. Seattle may be forced to compete for Manning just by the threat of him going to Arizona. There he would enjoy Larry Fitzgerald, a recovering running game and defense, and warm, dry weather for his spinal cord.
1 1/4. One downside to signing The Peyton would be that it'd be hard to sign Mario Williams too.
1. ZOMG PEYTON MANNING!!!!! YES PLEASE!!!!!