Manning, once considered the top QB in the NFL, sat out the entirety of 2011 with a neck injury. To say his team struggled in his absence would be a massive understatement.
The Colts, used to being perennial Super Bowl favorites, used three quarterbacks and dropped to 2-14, tied for the worst record in the league.
Due to strength of schedule, Indy won a tiebreaker with the St. Louis Rams for the top pick in the upcoming NFL draft.
Andrew Luck, a quarterback from Stanford and a two-time Heisman trophy finalist, seems like the logical choice at No. 1 for the Colts. That, along with the fact that team Vice Chairman Bill Polian and General Manager Chris Polian were fired on Tuesday, have cast clouds over Peyton's future in blue and white.
If the Colts decide to move forward with Luck and release Manning's whale of a contract, the Jets might be primary suitors.
Mark Sanchez, a third-year QB from USC led the Jets to back-to-back runs to the AFC championship but faltered to a disappointing 8-8 record last year.
With a relatively strong supporting cast, more was expected from Rex Ryan's team this year, and the big-mouthed coach might think that it's time to move past the Sanchez experiment, or at least postpone it a few seasons.
Here's a look at how this would affect the teams and other people involved: