2012 NFL Free Agents: Grading Jets', Redskins' Exits of Peyton Manning Chase

Samer IsmailAnalyst IIMarch 10, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 07:  Peyton Manning (L) speaks as Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay listens during a press conference announcing that the Colts will release of Manning at Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on March 7, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Joey Foley/Getty Images)
Joey Foley/Getty Images

Free agent quarterback Peyton Manning may be in high demand, but it appears he lost two suitors today, as the New York Jets and Washington Redskins in notable and different ways.


New York Jets

The Jets officially exited the Manning sweepstakes when they signed quarterback Mark Sanchez to a three-year extension, according to ESPN.com. The three-year deal keeps Sanchez under contract through 2016, and provides a total of $40 million in new money, including $20.5 million in guaranteed money in 2012 and 2013.

To be fair, the Jets were never the No. 1 contenders for Manning's services: first, it would have meant that Manning would have had to "share" New York with brother Eli—who currently has more Super Bowl rings than Peyton. Second, it would have meant spending time in New York's more results-oriented media. Third, he would have had to compete with Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots twice a year just to win the division.

Most importantly, though, the Jets were in poor salary cap shape, and likely would not have been able to afford to bring in Manning without getting rid of Sanchez.

It's not surprising, then, that the Jets decided to stick with Sanchez, rather than risk the unknown with Manning. The only question is why they decided to give Sanchez as much money as they did; one NFL agent summed it up on Twitter by saying "The NY football Jets done lost their damned mind."

Grade: B–

Washington Redskins

What was surprising, though, was the steep price that the Washington Redskins are apparently willing to pay to acquire the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

As ESPN.com reported, the Redskins plan to cough up three first-round draft picks—in 2012, 2013 and 2014—plus their 2012 second-round pick to the Rams.

Unless the Indianapolis Colts, who hold the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, shock the world by passing on Andrew Luck, it seems highly likely that the next quarterback of the Washington Redskins will be Baylor quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.

It remains to be seen if this will prove to be a wise move—after all, the Redskins made out like bandits when the New Orleans Saints traded a fortune in draft picks to draft Ricky Williams in 1999. Certainly Griffin will not cost the Redskins as much as Rams quarterback Sam Bradford cost St. Louis.

In any case, though, it will be harder, without first-round picks in 2013 and 2014, to give the Redskins' new QB the supporting cast he needs to win the always competitive NFC East.

Grade: C