2012 NFL Free Agents: WR Reggie Wayne Part of Package Deal for Miami Dolphins?
One card in the crazy Peyton Manning poker game about to ensue could be free-agent receiver Reggie Wayne, who "Interested Team X" might target in an effort to entice the Hall of Fame quarterback.
One such team interested in that scenario could be the Miami Dolphins.
Reggie Wayne has called South Florida home every offseason since entered the league back in 2001, and sources say the former Miami Hurricanes standout is open to making Miami his in-season home, signing with the Miami Dolphins.
Several media outlets, including the National Football Post and Sports Illustrated's Peter King, have speculated that Manning and Wayne could be a package combination in free agency.
Dan Pompei of NFP had this to say on the package deal:
There is some talk that Manning and Reggie Wayne may go to a new team as a package deal. A few pro scouts believe Wayne’s production may dip, given he probably will be in a new offensive system for the first time in his career, and he is 33 years old. That isn’t to say the free agent to be doesn’t have a couple of good years left in him, however. Wayne could maximize his ability if he were to continue his connection with Manning.
King took it another step, saying Manning would "love to see it happen":
Such a pairing would not only be a plus for Manning, who would love to see it happen, according to one NFL source. But also it would allow him to go to his new team with one familiar receiving face, and if you can say one thing about Manning, it's that he loves familiarity, particularly in how his receivers anticipate throws and the precision of their route-running.
The Colts released Manning Wednesday afternoon in an emotionally charged news conference. Once he clears waivers early Wednesday night, Manning will be free to sign with any team. He'll likely take his time to continue getting healthy and weigh his options.
But it appears likely that where Wayne goes could have an impact on Manning's decision.
In 11 seasons in Indianapolis, Wayne caught 862 passes for over 11,000 yards and 73 touchdowns. In his first season without Manning at the helm, Wayne caught just 75 passes for 960 yards—both marking Wayne's lowest numbers since 2003.
In Manning's last healthy season in Indianapolis (2010), Wayne caught 111 passes for 1,315 yards and six touchdowns.
The Dolphins currently have Brandon Marshall, Davone Bess and Brian Hartline at receiver, but adding Wayne would give Miami a very tempting combination of targets for Manning.
Wayne and Marshall would give Manning a top 1-2 punch, and Bess and Hartline compare favorably to what Manning had as slot options during his 14 years in Indianapolis.
Kelly points out that the Dolphins have roughly $15 million in cap room, which means the team "would need to get creative" to fit both Manning and Wayne under the cap.
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