The Indianapolis Colts have offically hired Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano to be their next head coach. The news of shifting to a defensive-minded head coach along with the firings of long time vice chairman Bill Polian, and his son, general manager Chris have all but signaled the Colts are officially in the dreaded “rebuilding” stage. Will Peyton Manning want to be apart of a rebuilding team and more importantly do the Colts want to keep Manning coming off a serious neck injury with the number one pick at their disposal?
Andrew Luck seems like the logical choice for the franchise moving forward and keeping both quarterbacks on the roster would be a finical burden. Peyton Manning is due a $28 million roster bonus in March, a large price tag for somebody that’s status will be in question all year. Let’s take a look at 5 potential teams that could be in play for the Manning sweepstakes with the writing on the wall that the Peyton era in Indianapolis is nearing an end.
This makes sense on a number of levels. The Redskins desperately need a quaterback and are tired of settling for the ugly girl at the bar (Rex Grossman). Getting into bed with Manning is a solid upgrade for owner Dan Synder who has a history of making it rain when it comes to spending money on the open market (Remember he gave “Fat Albert” Haynesworth $100 million to rot away on the bench). This would also certainly be a compelling NFC East race to watch with both Manning brothers getting to face each other twice a year. Nobody knows how durable Manning will be next season, but Mike Shanahan would love nothing more than to coach a future hall of famer. The last time he had a hall of fame quarterback under center it resulted in two Super Bowls victories with John Elway.
2. Denver Broncos
Speaking of Elway, are we to expected to believe the Broncos are fully committed to Tim Tebow, even if the rest of the nation is? Look, Tebow absolutely deserves the opportunity to be the face of the franchise after carrying them to the playoffs and winning a playoff game by defeating the Steelers in Pittsburgh. However, I can’t say categorically that Elway as Vice President of Football Operations or Head Coach John Fox feel the same way. At the very least, the Broncos will do their due-dillagence and inquire about the availability of Manning.
3. Arizona Cardinals
Kurt Warner ain’t walking back through the desert anytime soon. Apparently the Cardinals have yet to be informed of this and have tried replacing him with the likes of Matt Leinart, Derek Anderson, John Skelton, Max Hall, and Kevin Kolb. Kolb still has loads of potential and they may not want to end the experiement so soon, although Kolb was injured for large parts of the season and adding Manning to the roster gives this offense a whole new dynamic. A Manning to Fitzgerald partnership would be lethal for opponents to defend against. Manning would certainly give them a boost in making the playoffs after finishing with an impressive 8-8 record despite poor quarterback play.
4. Miami Dolphins
They haven’t had a good quarterback since the 90’s when the Fresh Prince of Bel Air was still on air. Trying desperately to replace Dan Marino with another legend, the Dolphins may just make a splash like signing Peyton Manning. Their new head coach comes from the Green Bay Packers which has led many to assume they will instead make a play for Aaron Rodger’s backup, Matt Flynn. Either way the Dolphins will have to entertain the notion of courting Manning if he becomes available, especially after losing out on Jeff Fischer, the top head coach on the market.
5. New York Jets
Mark Sanchez has yet to prove to the New York fans that he is a true franchise quarterback, thanks to his lackluster regular season performances. In the playoffs however, Sanchez has been quite the opposite and rather effective in tying an NFL record for the most road playoff wins with four. Manning would obviously propel the Jets, giving the city that never sleeps two Manning brothers to cheer for. The hiring of a new conservative offensive coordinator in Tony Sparano suggests that they may give Sanchez one more year to prove his doubters wrong. Nevertheless you can’t count the Jets out of any bidding war as not so long ago Brett Favre, and his propensity for texting images of his wanker, were once apart of this franchise.