March 6, 2012
Drew Brees broke Dan Marino’s passing record, Tim Tebow stole all the headlines, and Eli Manning won another Super Bowl. However, it’s Peyton Manning that is about to change the entire landscape of the NFL. Probably.
We should find out any day now whether Manning is going to retire (very unlikely), stay with the Colts (unlikely), or become a free agent (most likely). If Peyton retires or stays in Indy, the impact on what the rest of the league does will be fairly minimal. But if Manning becomes a free agent and leaves town to be replaced by Andrew Luck, the impact will be felt from Seattle to Miami and just about everywhere in between.
We just saw what Indianapolis looks like without Manning and it wasn’t pretty. Now the Colts must decide if they want to have both Manning and Andrew Luck on the roster or do they let Peyton leave and use the money to begin building something around Luck. Once we know what Manning’s decision is, the next domino to fall should be Matt Flynn. The remaining teams in need of a quarterback are expected to be bidding for Flynn or looking for one in the draft.
Word on the street is that St. Louis has decided to trade the second pick in the draft to one of the teams looking to get RGIII. The teams that end up with Manning and Flynn will be out of the running in the RGIII sweepstakes and could impact how much St. Louis can get in the deal. Especially if its Cleveland or Washington because they seem to be the two main suitors for a trade up to the second pick.
Speaking of Cleveland, the Browns are in the best position, by far, to get a deal done with the fourth and 22nd picks in the first round. Unless they decide to pick up Manning and let him take over for Colt McCoy. Then the Redskins would be delighted to move up and draft Griffin. With the Browns out of the way, Washington wouldn’t have to pay as steep of a price to move up from No. 6 to the No. 2 pick.
That is, they would have the edge over Miami who has the No. 8 pick. But Dolphin fans don’t want Griffin. They want Manning. Some fans in Miami saw what happened in Denver last year with Tebow and have set up a website in hopes of getting Miami management to sign Manning and even advertised the site on a billboard near Dolphins’ headquarters.
Seattle and Arizona have the No. 12 and No. 13 picks so they are probably too far down the order to make a run at moving up in the draft for a quarterback. But it wouldn’t prevent them from going after either Manning or Flynn.
What Peyton Manning does will directly impact the quarterback position for several teams and indirectly impact, through the draft and wins/losses for the next couple seasons, every team in the NFL. He’s got a huge decision to make. Let’s just hope he doesn’t do it on live television.