Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network on Saturday reported that the Colts ownership and management decided a few weeks back to move on from Peyton Manning and they will, as LaCanfora said, "almost certainly" make it official before the NFL Combine that is coming up. Assuming that report is accurate, now the fun begins.
Let me first state I don't know the details of Peyton's health status, nobody does. I'm not a doctor and I know little about the in's and outs of the whole "nerves in his neck" and how the recovery process is going. I heard Armando Salguero the other morning on his 640 WFTL radio show state things are going slower than expected. Yet then you read quotes from Peyton and he is saying he will play another 6 years and it won't be an issue. So, for the sake of this article lets just assume Peyton Manning is "healthy enough" to play football in 2012 and beyond. Whether he is 100% or 80% lets assume for the sake of this article he is just "healthy enough" to play.
If/when Manning is on the open market Miami has been rumored to be one of the two heavy favorites to land him. Those unnamed sources in Washington are saying Daniel Snyder has made it clear he will not be out-bid for Peyton. And if Peyton signs anywhere else he will be taking less money to do so. The Skins are the other team in hot pursuit if you believe the reports.There have also been rumblings about the Jets. Then you have heard teams like Seattle and San Francisco mentioned as well but not a lot of chatter coming from those two camps on the issue.
But Miami will be in the mix and as Mike Francesa on WFAN in NYC said this week NFL insiders and people in NFL circles he has talked to are saying Miami is the favorite to land Peyton and that is were the smart money is. And if you break it down it does make sense. 1) Miami is a warm weather climate and for someone coming off a neck injury playing and just plain daily living in the cold isn't ideal. 2) Going to Washington or the Jets means Peyton is breathing down his brothers back. Either in the same division as Eli where he has to try and beat him twice a year and is in direct competition or if he is in New York he will share a city and a stadium with Eli where the Eli /Peyton questions and comparisons will be 24/7/365 with the New York media. Will Peyton want to do that? Plus, he goes from playing indoors to now being on a team in a cold weather climate in both Washington and New York. 3) The Dolphins are a ready made team for a franchise quarterback to step in and lead to the playoffs and possibly beyond. You have Brandon Marshall and Reggie Bush coming off huge years. You have an offensive line anchored by two young top draft picks in Long and Pouncey. Plus, you have a defense that was ranked 6th this past year in scoring defense. On the flip side, the Jets are in turmoil right now with a lot of in-fighting and the Redskins are a little further away than Miami in the talent department. 4) The Manning Family is a very tight group and I am not sure any of them from Archie, to Eli, to Peyton, to Olivia will like or enjoy direct competition of Eli/Peyton if big brother goes to the Jets or Redskins.
Bottom line as a Dolphins fan, if Manning is anywhere near 100% or even 80% Miami must make a play to sign him. I know when you line things up side by side between Matt Flynn and Peyton Manning it probably makes more sense to roll the dice on Flynn. He knows the offense like the back of his hand, he has worked together with the head coach already, Flynn is younger and has a longer shelf life in this league at this point. All logical signs say make a move for Flynn. With that said, this Peyton Manning we are talking about. One of the top five quarterbacks to ever play the game. Someone who if near 100% gives Miami a 2 or 3 year window to win a Super Bowl. While both Flynn and Manning are a roll of the dice (Flynn a bit unproven and Peyton with age and injury), the jackpot with Manning is the Super Bowl within the next 2 or 3 years. That is tough to pass up, really tough.
Would I be upset if Miami went with Flynn over Manning; not at all. Would I be upset if Miami went with Manning over Flynn; not at all.
In closing let me just say if Miami does meet with Peyton Manning at some point and the Dolphins have their team doctor look Peyton over and give him a physical, I just hope its not the same doctor who told Nick Saban to go with Culpepper over Brees!