It’s time for Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay to stop beating around the bush and cut franchise quarterback Peyton Manning.
Hours after reports surfaced declaring Manning had been medically cleared to resume his career, Irsay tweeted, “Peyton has not passed our physical nor has he been cleared to play for the Indianapolis Colts.”
That doesn’t sound like a guy who wants his quarterback to be cleared to play. That sounds like a guy who is ready to move on from his quarterback.
It seems Irsay wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants to draft former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in the upcoming draft. However, he also wants to avoid having to cut Manning, especially if Manning is deemed healthy.
The easy way out for Irsay is for Manning to not be cleared and have to retire.
This situation between Irsay and Manning is shaping up to be similar to the situation between the Green Bay Packers and former quarterback Brett Favre.
When Favre retired for the first time and wanted to come back, it was clear that the Packers had moved on with current quarterback Aaron Rodgers. While the Packers didn’t want Favre back, they refused to trade him to the Minnesota Vikings (Favre’s preferred destination) because they didn’t want Favre to come back to hurt them.
The situation got pretty ugly before the Packers finally traded Favre to the New York Jets, where he played a season before retiring again and then returning to play for the Vikings.
The Packers moved on from a legendary quarterback and it worked out for them. Green Bay won the Super Bowl last season and, with Rodgers at the helm, looks poised to compete for more titles in the seasons to come.
Does that mean the same would happen for the Colts if they cut Manning and were to hand the reins over to Luck? Maybe, maybe not.
With Manning’s fairly recent neck surgeries, the $28 million bonus he's due in March, the firing of a lot of the staff he'd worked with and the almost certainty that the Colts will draft Luck; it makes sense for Indianapolis to let go of Manning.
Of course, it’s a tough decision for Irsay. However, he has to understand he won’t control whether Manning will play again. He only controls whether or not Manning will play again for the Indianapolis Colts.
If the decision has already been made that Manning will not play again for the Colts, Irsay needs to go ahead and pull the trigger.