Where Will Peyton Take His Services in 2012?
It's obvious that after listening to Jim Irsay spout off on Twitter day after day that Peyton Manning will no longer be apart of the Colts plans moving forward. I believe his "the horseshoe comes first before any individual" sums up what's going to happen in the next few weeks. So let's look at the possible destinations where Manning might land in 2012, granted that he is healthy and able to play.
San Francisco 49ers: This appears to be the fan favorite right now, but I personally don't see this happening. For starters, Alex Smith had a Pro Bowl type season and looks to be on the right path in becoming the player the Niners thought he would be when they drafted him. I also don't see Manning and Harbaugh coinciding on the same team. Harbaugh is a very passionate, in your face type of coach and I don't think he would let Manning have the control he's used to. Would this make the 49ers the automatic team to beat in the NFC? Possibly, but they would need some receivers for Manning to throw the ball to as well.
Seattle Seahawks: This seems like a far fetched scenario but I guess anything is possible. Manning will not fit well in that west coast scheme that Pete Carroll has over there, and there are no wide receivers on that roster to speak of. They have a decent defense and a good running game but I really don't see this situation working out for either party.
New York Jets: Two Manning's in New York? Would that really happen? The better question is can you really see Peyton playing for Rex Ryan? I know that I can't. Especially with all the drama that's going on in that locker room. Players are throwing each other under the bus, coaches are being questioned on their ability to control the team, and they have a quarterback that can't seem to earn a name for himself in the city or this league. They experimented already with Brett Favre and that failed. I don't see them doing it again.
Miami Dolphins: GM Ireland has publicly stated that his team needs a franchise quarterback and Manning would provide that if he's healthy for the next four years or more. This team has a solid defense and a running back in Reggie Bush that Manning would be able to fully utilize. But will they take that step? They haven't been able to land coaches and other quarterbacks in the past, so why should this be any different? Not to mention they turned down Drew Brees because they thought his injury was too much of a risk to take. It's no surprise that that backfired on them as well. This team just hasn't gotten the QB position correct since Dan Marino retired. I don't think they land Manning either.
Washington Redskins: Mike Shanahan would love to have a quarterback like Peyton Manning on his team. He had the luxury of coaching John Elway and winning two Super Bowls and would be in a similar position if he could get Manning in Washington. They have a solid defense and some good running backs, but they lack depth at the receiver position. If they do land Manning, he will have to face his brother twice a year, which would also be an intriguing story line. It will be imperative for the Redskins to bring in some receivers for Manning to throw to though.
Arizona Cardinals: This is my pick! If he leaves Indianapolis there is no better fit that I see than the Arizona Cardinals. I know they just gave Kolb a $60 million contract but they left some holes in it to get out if needed. I think Manning makes them an automatic playoff team. They have a solid defense, a good running game, and Larry Fitzgerald. They have a couple of young receivers that have potential and could be good with Manning's help. This team isn't that different from the one Warner led to the Super Bowl a few years ago. They just need that magic again at the QB position and who knows what could happen.