Arizona Cardinals: Interest in Peyton Manning Is 'The Real Deal'

Cedric HopkinsContributor IJanuary 22, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 27:  (L-R) Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts shakes hands with Kurt Warner #13 of the Arizona Cardinals after the Colts defeated the Cardinals 31-10 during the game at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 27, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts have a decision to make that would have Solomon seeking advice from outside counsel. Do they keep Peyton Manning on the roster and draft Andrew Luck, or is it time to cut ties with one of the best quarterbacks to ever grip the pigskin? 

While Manning-chatter has erupted across the NFL for just about every quarterback-needy team, three teams—Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and Washington Redskins—have been the front-runners. 

Just prior to the start of the AFC Conference Championship game, NFL insider Adam Schefter sent a tweet across Twitterland that filled each Arizona Cardinals fan with Christmas Eve-type of anticipation of what could be.

Schefter wrote:

Add the Arizona Cardinals to mix of teams that includes Dolphins, Jets and Redskins expected to be interested in Colts QB Peyton Manning.

And if you were tuned in to ESPN, Schefter described Arizona's interest as "the real deal."

Cardinals fans may just get a repeat of a Kurt Warner-esque, late-carrier experience from Manning. And Manning has the talent to take the Cards to the same places Warner did. 

If the Cardinals were to have a chance at securing Manning, they would have to make some significant moves to clear the salary cap space. 

First, draft bust Levi Brown would have to restructure the final year of his contract where he is set to bring in (read: steal) $18 million. He could even be released, although finding decent blocking at the tackle position is a daunting task. 

Then, Arizona would need to set its sights on free agent disappointment Kevin Kolb. Kolb is due $7 million in mid-March. The Cardinals could shift that money in Manning's direction if they released Kolb prior to paying him the roster bonus. 


With Manning under center, the Cards wouldn't be as pressed to find a talented second wide receiver opposite Larry Fitzgerald. Manning turns average wide receivers (Blair White, Pierre Garcon) into solid No. 2s. 

The Cardinals would still have to secure the offensive line to ensure the safety of their new fragile leader. And by conducting a smart draft, Arizona could land two offensive linemen in the first three picks.

Besides, Manning's freakish knowledge of opposing defenses and quick reads and releases will keep him upright and healthy.

Because Kolb was unable to separate himself from backup quarterback John Skelton, and because the latter will cost the Cardinals more than 15 times what the former would, something has to be done at the quarterback position this offseason. 

Kolb is unlikely to distance himself from Skelton, which will cost the Cardinals both in the pocket and on the field. Quarterback controversies are a disease for any organization. 

Landing a talent like Manning on the Cardinals' roster would surely settle any and all quarterback controversies and will give Arizona an opportunity to pair an explosive offensive with an already dominating defense.