Assistant Sports Editor
There are a few guarantees in the NFL of today. One team will win and one will lose. Only one team will be happy after the season’s end. Aaron Rodgers will dominate your secondary. Rex Ryan will guarantee a Super Bowl win. Darrelle Revis will shut down the opponent’s best wide receiver. Eli Manning will come through in the clutch. And finally, recently added to the list, the Colts will take Andrew Luck as the first overall pick of this upcoming NFL Draft. That guarantee is going to remove one of the longest tenured guarantees off of the list – that Peyton Manning will be wearing No. 18 for the Indianapolis Colts.
By now, we have all heard the story way too much. Here is how it goes. Manning has neck surgery. Manning has another neck surgery. Manning totals four neck surgeries. The Colts have a miserable season. The Colts “earn” the number-one pick. Manning declares himself healthy. Colts owner Jim Irsay tries to say all the right things but knows he cannot commit $28 million to Manning, when he will have Luck on the roster as well. Luck says all the right things, saying that he will enjoy the opportunity to learn from Manning if the situation presents itself. Manning acknowledges that the NFL is a business, and it may be time to move on. Irsay acts like he will do anything in his power to keep Manning, when everyone and their mothers know that all he wants is Luck. Thus, it is a foregone conclusion that Peyton Manning will not be a Colt next season.
Let’s look at a few of the potential situations that Peyton could land in:
Scenario A: Peyton lands in Arizona, where the Cardinals finally rid themselves of the scary quarterback situation that is John Skelton and Kevin Kolb. From a fantasy football perspective, all parties should be extremely excited about this situation. Peyton would be in a weak division and playing for a team that has had a lot of success in the passing game in years past. Lastly, Larry Fitzgerald is arguably the best receiver in all of football right now, and he has had me and you throwing him passes in recent years, so imagine what he could do with No. 18, one of the best signal callers of all time.
Scenario B: Rex Ryan finally realizes that the only way his Super Bowl promises come true would be if he finds himself a real quarterback. (Sorry, Mark.) But a Rex Ryan defense combined with Manning running the offense in green and white would result in a pretty successful regular season and would make the Jets a serious contender out of the AFC. And how cool would two divisional battles between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning be in the coming years?
Scenario C: This one is probably the most boring to think about of them all, but one that would certainly be effective. I’m talking Seattle Seahawks. The one thing that hurt their team last year was the quarterback position. Tarvaris Jackson is not exactly the answer for a team hoping to get to the next level. Peyton would be an incredible upgrade. The have all of the things that Manning would be looking for – a solid coaching staff led by Pete Carroll, a solid run game behind the beastly legs of Marshawn Lynch, a young and talented defense and one of the best home field advantages in all of football. They also play in a weak division, and Manning could be a really good fit in the state of Washington.
Scenario D: He could get ESPN’s camera crew to come to Indianapolis and he could schedule an awkward Q&A interview in which he decides to take his talents to South Beach. I mean, I don’t see Peyton being the kind of guy who really takes advantage of the social life in Miami. You wouldn’t catch him clubbing with LeBron or D-Wade. But you could see him playing well with Brandon Marshall and taking the Miami Dolphins to the next level. Matt Moore played well enough for them last year, but Peyton could really prosper in Miami.
Or maybe he’ll retire and call it a career, but I say he finds a new home and sticks it to Indianapolis. Who knows?