Just like the plethora of Mario Williams articles out there right now, I've tried to avoid the Peyton Manning to the Texans rumors or commenting about it at all. But with the topic dominating local sports radio for the last twelve plus hours, I'm here to tell you why although it is an intriguing development, it's just too risky for the Texans to entertain it.
When local sports anchor Bob Allen said last night that his sources close to the Manning family said that Houston is a team he has a high interest in joining once the Colts likely release him in a month, it started an explosion on twitter. One way or the other, it's gotten quite a reaction from fans on both sides of the topic.
Many say that if he is healthy, Houston would be foolish not to give it some serious thought, and I do agree. But others are too proud to give the guy who was the bane of their existence for a decade any support at becoming the Texans new quarterback. It's quite polarizing to consider, because Peyton at even 80% makes this team an instant Super Bowl contender. But is the risk worth it?
Let's assume that Manning is cleared by doctor's and he looks terrific in a workout, bringing in Peyton would likely spell the end of Matt Schaub's tenure with the Texans. Such a scenario has many fans saying "so what?" But you have to think that a healthy Matt Schaub is all this team needs to be good for a very long time. He's younger than Manning and while a perfect recovery from a lisfranc injury is never guaranteed, it sounds like the chances are much higher than nerve damage in the neck.
Add to that, the reports from the Indianapolis Star saying that Peyton has a "noodle arm" right now (even though Bob Kravitz has backtracked on that statement a bit) and it sounds like quite a risk to me.
Starting quarterback is such a tough position to fill in the NFL and when you have one that you can win with, which I still debate Schaub is that guy, you have to be careful before you pitch him to the curb because you think another guy puts you over the top. Trust me, I understand the allure of Peyton Manning here. Him in top shape combined with this offensive line and defense and this team could steamroll through the AFC in 2012. But what if the Texans trade or release Schaub, sign Manning and then after the second or third game, they realize they made a huge mistake? Do you really think T.J. Yates is ready to lead this team to a Super Bowl?
If you could guarantee me that Peyton is healthy and had another three years in him, I'd be all over this move. But this whole situation has been shrouded in mystery for so long that I don't think anyone can guarantee anything even close to it. There are still daily rumors that he's going to be forced into retirement, much less be back to his MVP nature.
As far as if I'd care that he tormented this franchise for so long, that would be pretty much a non-factor for me. I've always said that I find it amusing how a change of uniform can really flip-flop your opinion about a guy. I look at it as pro wrestling; a guy can be a villain forever and then with one move, he is a fan favorite. So all the people whining about how they wouldn't be able to stomach seeing Peyton Manning in a Texans uniform, you'd come around if the team was winning with him.
In the end, as tempting as it is I just don't see this team taking the risk. If Matt Schaub's injury was career threatening, maybe. But they know they have a guy in Schaub who is a field general, knows the playbook better than the back of his hand and is a few years younger than Peyton. Sure, if they're both 100% healthy, there is no contest there. But since we have no way of knowing for sure how Peyton will look in his return, it's a risk that I think is too high for Houston to take. And I didn't even touch on the Texans tight salary cap issues. It just doesn't make sense with a team that is this close to being special. Even if he committed to coming here for the vet minimum. Which is about as likely as me being QB1 next season.