Peyton Manning has been leading the Indianapolis Colts offense for more than a decade, so the idea of suiting up for a new franchise next season can't be easy. Bringing along favorite target Reggie Wayne would certainly make his new environment a lot easier to adapt to, however.
The idea of Manning and Wayne becoming somewhat of a package deal was brought into focus by Peter King of Sports Illustrated.
The latest in the Peyton Manning story involves a Manning-Reggie Wayne reunion, which I'm told at least two potential suitor teams would seriously consider in an attempt to lure the rehabbing Manning if the Colts cut him between now and the March 8 deadline Indianapolis has for exercising a $28 million option bonus to keep the legendary quarterback.
Wherever Manning lands next season—assuming the Colts do eventually cut him loose—he will want to run the offense his way. Nobody knows that style of attack better than Wayne, who has been catching passes from No. 18 since 2001.
Wayne wasn't himself with Manning sidelined. He didn't play with the same intensity Colts fans have become accustomed to during his storied career, failing to top 1,000 yards for the first time since 2003. A lot of that has to do with the inferior quarterbacks the team was running out there.
The former Miami Hurricane is an unrestricted free agent and will have plenty of potential suitors for what will likely be his final major contract. No situation will provide him with a better opportunity to produce than continuing to work with Manning.
Should Manning and Wayne become a package deal?
Wayne has been on the receiving end of 787 Manning passes during his career, making them one of the most prolific combos in league history. The number only gets more impressive when you consider the playoffs.
Between working his arm back to full strength, getting on the same page with all of his new teammates and overcoming the mental hurdles of a move, Manning will have a lot on his plate if the situation plays out like it's expected to in the coming months.
What better way to making things a little more comfortable than to bring Wayne along for the ride? After all, he could probably complete a pass to him blindfolded at this point.
If a team that needed a quarterback—and there are no shortage of those—knew all it took to convince Manning to sign with them was working out a deal with Wayne, he'd suddenly become the most popular free agent available.
That makes it a win-win scenario for both guys, so don't be surprised if this rumor comes to fruition unlike most of them.