With Andrew Luck Available, What Should the Colts Do with Peyton Manning?

Eric SmithCorrespondent IIIJanuary 4, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 22:  Peyton Manning  #18 of the Indianapolis Colts gives instructions to his teammates during the NFL against  the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 22, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Now that we all know the Indianapolis Colts have clinched the top pick in April's draft with the 19-13 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday, the speculation begins on what to do with Peyton Manning.

Jim Irsay made it very clear on the Lexus Pre-Game show before the Houston game on the NFL Network, that if Peyton Manning was the slightest bit healthy, then he would be a Colt.

When asked about the draft, Irsay said the draft will work itself out, and if there's a good young quarterback available, then they'd take him.

That leads me to believe we will never see Peyton Manning in another uniform, because if he's cleared to play, he will be a Colt. That also leads me to believe the Colts will draft Andrew Luck with the first pick.

Now, I know many people think we should turn our backs on Peyton and go forward with Luck, but I'm totally against that and think we can have both on our team.

I think after 13 great years as a Colt, this still needs to be Peyton's team until he's ready to go out on his own terms. After all that he's done for this franchise, we don't need to turn our back against him now.

Manning has led us down an incredible path of greatness, and that's something that will most likely never be done again.

You can't replace an 11-time Pro Bowl selection, 8-time All-Pro selection, a record 4-time league MVP, 6-time AFC Player of the Year, Pro Bowl MVP, Super Bowl MVP, and Super Bowl champion.

He's broken every passing record in Colts franchise history, and has also broken many NFL records. He's also the fastest ever to 50,000 career passing yards and 4,000 completions.

People have put Manning on such a high pedestal over the last 13 seasons, how dare you turn your back on him now.

It was never more prevalent that we needed him more than ever than this year. This team has talent, and it underachieved. Blame that joke of a coach, Jim Caldwell, and the circus act from the Polians for this letdown. Don't blame how this team is set up. These guys can play.

Manning hid the weaknesses of the joke of a coaching staff and front office. He was the glue that held this franchise together.

Nothing against Andrew Luck, but he will never be Peyton Manning. I'm sorry, but he will never achieve any of those stats above that Manning accomplished if he takes over in Year One.

If you get rid of Manning, then say goodbye to Reggie Wayne, Jeff Saturday, Dallas Clark, Pierre Garcon, Gary Brackett and Robert Mathis. Why would you keep them if you know you're going to rebuild?

Without those stars and Manning, this team will be horrid. Who's Andrew Luck going to throw to: Austin Collie and Brody Eldridge?

Good luck with that.

I hope Jim Irsay is smart and keeps Manning and all of those key free agents. This team isn't done yet. We can use these next few drafts to build for Andrew Luck and the future and stack this team's bench for a change.

I have the team's payroll and cap info in front of me. Trust me; we can do it.