Peyton Manning Released: Colts Wisely Protect Future by Deciding to Cut QB

Wes ODonnellFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 21:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots on November 21, 2010 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 31-28. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Peyton Manning is on the open market because the Indianapolis Colts had no other choice.

It is not everyday that a future Hall of Famer is allowed to sign with another team for free, but the Colts made that possible as a result of financial complications, a franchise overhaul and the questionable health of No. 18.

According to ESPN, the Colts will release the legendary QB. A press conference will come on Wednesday.

The move was a necessary evil and one that doesn't come as a surprise.

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 30:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts shakes hands with team owner Jim Irsay during Media Day at Dolphin Stadium on January 30, 2007 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Peyton's future with the Colts has been a highlight of the early offseason. The question was never really if he'd be released, but when.

Now, it will indeed happen.

This is what's best for both parties, the Colts especially. Peyton can sign elsewhere, hopefully stay healthy and help another team potentially make a run at a Super Bowl.

The Colts, meanwhile, can truly begin their overhaul.

Owning the No. 1 overall pick gives them the opportunity to select Stanford's Andrew Luck, the top prospect in the draft two years running.

STANFORD, CA - OCTOBER 08:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal shakes hands with players from the Colorado Buffaloes after their game at Stanford Stadium on October 8, 2011 in Stanford, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With all the front-office and coaching changes in Indy, the only thing missing was a change at the quarterback position.

Luck is not only the best option for this franchise, he is the only option for this franchise.

Jim Irsay has a new GM he can control in Ryan Grigson, a new head coach he can control in Chuck Pagano and now, most likely, a new quarterback to start the next era in Indianapolis Colts football.

Rather than investing roughly $50 million into a position where only one player can play at a time, the Colts now have the opportunity to go out and add the players they need to help resurrect the franchise.

They have lowered expectations—which is a huge positive considering they're not ready to compete—and they can bring the organization back to life at their own pace.

This was a necessary move, the only move, for both the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning.