Manning could turn a lot of teams from perennial losers to Super Bowl contenders next season. With him, the Colts seemed to always be at the top of their division. Without him, the team flirted with a winless season.
Peyton Manning will be 36 before the start of the 2012 season and is coming off two neck surgeries, so taking unnecessary hits is something that Manning can ill-afford. Which brings me to the Jets offensive line. The unit took a step back in 2011 allowing one sack every 14.7 dropbacks, that's down from one every 19.8 dropbacks in 2010. According to ProFootballReference.com, Jets' quarterbacks were sacked 40 times in 2011, while Colts' quarterbacks were sacked 43 times in 2008, 2009 and 2010 combined.
Some of the sacks can be attributed to Mark Sanchez holding the ball too long, and Manning's quicker release would probably cut down on them. Still, if Peyton were to come aboard, the line would have to pass protect better starting with Wayne Hunter (8.5 sacks given up, 11 penalties), who was often the media whipping boy for the under-performing unit.
The Jets were successful in 2010 and 2009, even more so when they got into the playoffs because of a solid ground and pound attack. The Jets want to get back to that and one has to wonder how Peyton Manning would function on a run first team.
Since Manning joined the Colts, the team hasn't eclipsed 500 carries on a season; the Jets had 534 carries in 2010 and 607 carries in 2009. While it would take pressure off of Manning coming off a lost season, one could argue that the quarterback thrives with the ball in his hands. A Manning acquisition by the Jets could lead to the team struggling to find who they are as an offense next season; just like they did this season.
The disastrous results of the identity-less 2010 New York Jets offense could be reason enough to proceed with caution when it comes to Manning.
Is Peyton Manning a fit for the Jets?
The Jets hired former Dolphins head coach, Tony Sparano in hopes of reverting back to their old running ways. Sparano is a new coach, and needs to get the players to buy into him and his style.
Some have joked that Peyton Manning was the Colts offensive coordinator for a few years now. An established veteran like Manning that has had the freedom to call his shots might not be the best thing for the hard-nosed Sparano as he tries to gain his footing within the Jets' organization.
Balancing Manning's happiness, with his own offensive game plan might be hard for the former assistant head coach of the Dallas Cowboys to do. Manning and Sparano could make a union work, and after all this is just speculative, but it might blow up in the Jets' faces.
Peyton Manning usually isn't overt in his emotions. He chooses his words very carefully and often comes off very classy. You could say he is the anti—Rex Ryan. While Rex has said that he plans to look at his management style, it might take more than an offseason to change the brash Ryan into less of a loud mouth.
Manning's greatest success came when a quiet leader like Tony Dungy led the Colts, and the pair eventually hoisted the Lombardi Trophy together. It would be the first time Manning played for a head coach like Rex and it's fair to wonder how Manning would function. The duo could work out great or it could lead to a Manning comment about a "liquored up" coach.
The last reason I feel that Peyton isn't a fit for the Jets is simple; New York is Eli's city. Eli has been the savior, whipping boy and everything in between for the Giants during his career. Eli has taken the pressure of the big city. He defeated a Patriots' team shooting for perfection in Super Bowl XLII.
Going in to this season he claimed he was an elite quarterback, and all he did was back that up by having one of his best seasons, throwing for almost 5000 yards and leading the Giants back to the Super Bowl. Eli did all this while playing in the shadow of his older brother. If Eli and the Giants were to again beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI Peyton would be entering New York in his little brother's shadow.
Jets' fans are starved for championship glory and envious of the Giants recent success, they would settle for nothing less than a Super Bowl win from Eli's brother. This factor might also lead to the acquisition of Manning being an all-in move for the Ryan Regime; similar to how the trade for Brett Favre was an all-in move for Team Mangini. If the wheels were to come off, Rex and Tanny might be looking for new jobs come 2013.
This is all speculation, and perhaps acquiring Peyton Manning could be the greatest thing since Super Bowl III for the Jets. But, right now, from my vantage point it doesn't seem like the perfect fit.