Where is Manning headed?


BY CHUCK CONSTANTINO, Couchsideshow.com contributor

An ongoing feud between Peyton Manning and Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay may mean the 11-time Pro Bowler could end up with another team this offseason. Photo by: Jeffrey Beall / Flickr

With media from all over the country in Indianapolis to watch the Super Bowl, there has been plenty of time to analyze the Peyton Manning situation. Will the Colts let him go, keep him to teach Stanford’s Andrew Luck, or build around him in this April’s upcoming draft?

The ugly spat between Manning and Jim Isray is very public, and after all the things said in the past week, each day passing, there’s less hope for Manning to continue his career in Indy. With Manning healthy, there could potentially be half the teams in the NFL asking about him. Some obvious landing spots for the future hall of fame quarterback are the Washington Redskins, the Arizona Cardinals, the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins. But keep an eye out for the Cleveland Browns, the Denver Broncos, the Seattle Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans. The only reason I didn’t put the San Francisco 49ers as a suitor is because as bad as Alex Smith has been in the past, this season he was a Kyle Williams away from heading to the Super Bowl.

Here’s my take on who will wind up with Mr. Manning.

Everyone knows the Washington Redskins will spend money on the top free agents, so much, they usually handcuff themselves to aging players who are far from the player they used to be. Owner Dan Synder is probably giddy at the opportunity to sit down with Peyton and show him how many zeroes his paychecks will read. With a defense on the rise, and head coach Mike Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme may entice Peyton, but ultimately not enough to lure him in. Look for Washington to make a play for Matt Flynn.

Now, everyone knows Manning would be a New York Jets fan dream. And Manning may take a long hard look at lining up behind Nick Mangold and relying on a somewhat formidable defense. My guess is, while this may be one of the more enticing offers her may receive, the pressures of playing in the spotlight, competing for the back page of New York papers with his brother and playing for Rex Ryan will make Peyton reconsider. Can you imagine watching him face Tom Brady twice a season though?

There has been some talks of Peyton traveling out to the NFC West to saddle in with the Arizona Cardinals. Before you scoff and roll your eyes, hear me out on why this is his landing spot. He’d get to drop back and sling it in the vicinity of Larry Fitzgerald, which everyone knows will be a catch. With over 115 targets this season, Larry dropped just one. The Cardinals have a ferocious defense which creates turnovers, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt has proved with a veteran quarterback, his team can make noise. Who knows, with wide receiver Reggie Wayne a free agent, maybe the Cardinals cut scrub Kevin Kolb, sign Manning, and take a serious look a lining up Wayne
next to Fitz, and lure center Jeff Saturday out of considering retirement.

For my dark horse, look out for the Denver Broncos. I know Tebow Mania is huge out in Colorado, but John Elway is realistic and knows Manning can deliver a winner before good ole Timmy can. With a aging but solid defense, the Broncos would have to find some play makers in the draft to help Manning, but this would give Tebow time to develop.

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