It is now being reported by several news organizations that the Indianapolis Colts intend to release one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, Peyton Manning, on Wednesday. The team itself has made no official announcement concerning the release, but it’s officials are scheduled to hold a press conference tomorrow. This apparently brings an end to a season long public debate between Manning and team owner Jim Irsay, that seemed to be more concerned with politics then legacy.
Manning, who is coming off multiple neck surgeries, missed the entire 2011 season. But recently leaked video showed the soon to be 36 year old veteran working out and throwing the ball at Duke University. This was an apparent answer for all the doubters about Manning’s lack of arm strength associated with his injury. As one of those doubters was Irsay himself, this could also have been perceived as Manning last stitch effort to remain a Colt.
The move would be a clear indication that the Colts are officially in rebuilding mode. With their expect number one draft pick in the upcoming NFL draft seeming to be their lynch pin to build around, Standford Quarterback Andrew Luck. The move will also free up $28 million of cap room, making the Colts a major player in the NFL free agency period that begins next week. The move would also make Manning the greatest NFL free agent in history.
Now that it appears the four time NFL MVP will be looking for employment somewhere else, how could that potentially be bad news for the Dallas Cowboys? Well, one of his possible landing spots includes a NFC divisional foe the Boys face twice a year, the Washington Redskins. With the Philadelphia Eagles turn around late last year and the defending World Champion New York Giants already on the schedule four times this season, the Cowboys would face an even stiffer uphill battle if Manning made the move to D.C.
But chances are Manning will choose a more appealing environment a.k.a. a team that could get him another Superbowl victory the quickest. The favorite candidates appear to be the Arizona Cardinals and the New York Jets. The Cardinals are just two years removed from their franchise’s first Superbowl appearance. And the Jets made it to the AFC Championship game twice in a row prior to this season. Both franchises have suffered greatly from inconstant quarterback play and would be instant contenders with the addition of Manning.
We, here at The Landry Hat, have even hinted at the possibility of Manning wearing the Star. But owner and general manager Jerry Jones seems utterly committed to Tony Romo at this point. And the salary Manning would require would all but cripple the team in free agency. And the Cowboys have many holes to fill and desperately need to be successful in both free agency and the draft. But never underestimate Jones’ flair for the dramatic and his love of the spotlight.
Other apparent suitors for Manning include the Miami Dolphins, the Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns. But those teams seem to be more than just one move away from contending for a championship. In reality, every NFL front office staff in the league should at least be putting in some thought into acquiring the legend. If for nothing else then to just keep him off their opponent’s roster.
Regardless, the bidding war for the greatest free agent in history will apparently begin tomorrow. Since Manning would be released from the Colts, he can actually sign with any team instantly afterwards and not have to wait until next week’s free agency period. Let the frenzy begin!