An NFL Network Blog quoted Jason LaCanfora saying that the Colts were planning on moving on from Manning even before the public war of words between he and Jim Irsay.
According to sources who were involved in the Colts’ GM search, the organization was planning to move on from Manning weeks ago, well before this public squabble between the quarterback and his owner.
La Canfora believes that the move will take place before the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine.
What it means?
It means that the Colts are making the right move for both the franchise and Manning. If it happens, it will be weird to see Manning in another uniform, but this move has to be made.
The Colts possess the No. 1 pick and therefore effectively have the rights to Andrew Luck. Realistically, NFL teams today can't pay two starting quarterbacks and still assemble talent around them. Indianapolis clearly needs some help, so spending money on two quarterbacks would be foolish.
Once that is determined, the answer is clearly Luck (or Robert Griffin III if you feel he's better). Manning will be 36 in March, just missed an entire season with a bad neck and has had three neck surgeries in his career.
If he plays, he will be the quarterback in 2012, but not for 2013 or after, which is what the Colts need to have an eye on.
Logically, the Colts have to take a quarterback with the first pick. As was reported by Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, they are going to do just that. But if Manning stays in the NFL, what the Colts do is only a small part of this.
The bidding war on Manning is going to be epic. Any team with even a slight question mark at the quarterback position will have no choice but to take a strong look at the future Hall of Famer.
Any specific teams would be pure speculation, but think about how few teams have that true franchise quarterback right now. You can bet that any of those teams will be rumored to at least be interested in Manning's services at some point.
Of course, his health is not a small factor. It isn't at all impossible that Manning will either retire voluntarily or be forced into it. Neck injuries are extremely serious and he just missed a full season, so it isn't much of a reach to think that he might miss more than that.
Still, until that moment comes (if it does), we're not going to have any shortage of teams going pretty hard to acquire Manning's services.