Peyton Manning Rumors: 6 Biggest Winners & Losers If Manning Signs with Broncos

Cian Fahey@CianafFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2012

Peyton Manning Rumors: 6 Biggest Winners & Losers If Manning Signs with Broncos

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    Where Peyton Manning signs during this free-agency period remains an unsolved equation, but the time is drawing nearer.

    After spending some time with the Denver Broncos last weekend, John Elway's home appears to still be in the mix for Manning. Not everyone will be as elated as Elway should Manning arrive in Denver, however.

    Here are three winners and three losers of the potential Manning move to Denver.

WINNER: John Elway

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    I've been saying for a while now that John Elway doesn't simply want Peyton Manning for his abilities on the field.

    Elway sees Manning's signature as the only clean escape from the Tim Tebow era.

    Just consider the situation if Manning signs elsewhere and Elway tries to replace Tebow with someone like Matt Flynn, Chad Henne or a draft pick.

    The Tebow faithful—which is a number that must even rival the Elway-lovers in Denver at this stage—wouldn't be able to handle it.

    Tebow fans would poke holes in the new player purposely and overly scrutinize him as part of the outcry and backlash over Tebow's benching/trading. With Manning, however, there is very little to scrutinize. Nobody can claim that Tebow is better than Manning if he is fully healthy.

    Manning is a future Hall of Famer and one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. The idea that Tim Tebow is a better player can't even be considered by those completely enveloped in Tebow Mania.

    Elway's only escape from another season with Tebow under center is through Manning. It's blatantly clear that he is not a believer in Tebow, considering he has never fully endorsed him as the team's starting quarterback.

LOSER: Tim Tebow

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    Obviously, being benched or traded would make Tebow a loser, especially if he winds up in Jacksonville.

    I don't care how much the fans down there love him, the Jaguars are a franchise going in the wrong direction.

    If the Jaguars were to try to build their franchise around Tebow, then the pressure on him to succeed in much more difficult circumstances than in Denver would be overwhelming for the young quarterback.

    Playing in Denver, Tebow has his teammates' respect, a lot of emerging talent around him on offense and a defense that carries the team as a whole.

    In Jacksonville, he would have a decent defense (but not as good as Denver's) and Maurice Jones-Drew, but not much else.

    If Tebow isn't traded and he sits behind Peyton Manning, that could be seen as a useful learning experience. However, the reality is Tebow won't get better without being on the field and playing through his mistakes.

    Manning is also at the point in his career where he won't be thinking about aiding the development of a younger quarterback. He will be too busy trying to adjust to his new surroundings himself.

WINNERS: Eric Decker, DeMaryius Thomas, Knowshon Moreno

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    Manning has a history of getting the best out of young, talented receivers.

    Decker and Thomas proved to be valuable deep threats for Tim Tebow last season and could really benefit from playing with the veteran quarterback.

    While Thomas and Decker excelled at beating defenders with their sheer physical talents, Manning would be able to help them better understand the nuances of the game and beat defensive backs with their route running.

    Not to mention, Manning can actually throw the ball to short and intermediate routes, which is always a help.

    Similarly, young running back Knowshon Moreno would benefit from the change in scheme that the Broncos would undoubtedly undergo with Manning under center. Moreno is a shifty running back who has struggled to stay healthy trying to carry the load in Denver.

    With Manning as his quarterback, Moreno would spend a lot more time as a receiver coming out of the backfield in open space. He would still have to run between the tackles at times, but he could prove to be one of the best third-down backs in the league in Manning's offense.

LOSER: Willis McGahee

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    McGahee had a new lease on life when the Broncos brought in Tim Tebow and the option offense last year.

    As a fullback more than a halfback, McGahee barreled his way to 1,199 yards and a Pro Bowl berth on 249 carries.

    With Peyton Manning as his quarterback, McGahee doesn't figure to get anywhere near 249 carries in a season.

    McGahee isn't a good receiving back—he specializes at pounding the running game between the tackles to soften defenses.

    His opportunities to do this in a passing offense would be limited.

    McGahee's role would return to one much more similar to the one he had in Baltimore, as opposed to Denver last year or Buffalo previously.

WINNER: Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins

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    Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins may still be playing at a Pro Bowl level, but they are both undoubtedly in the dying embers of their careers.

    Dawkins and Bailey have the kind of characters that will make them value Super Bowls over anything else.

    As such, they will be delighted by anything that improves the team in the short term.

    With Manning on offense and Dawkins and Bailey on defense, the Broncos would have three of the best leaders of the past decade in the NFL.

    More importantly for the two defensive players, Manning would instantly make them contenders for a playoff spot and maybe a Super Bowl run.

    A run that could be seen as the last one for each player.


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    Outside of a big year for Matt Cassel next year, Manning would shift the power in the AFC West from Kansas City/San Diego to Denver.

    The West isn't the strongest division in the NFL, and as such, an elite quarterback like Manning could tip the scales.

    The Raiders' cap problems will prevent them from taking a step forward next year, while Kansas City has everything but a comparable quarterback and the Chargers are the most unreliable team in the league from year to year.

    The Broncos would instantly be the favorites for the AFC West crown with a Peyton Manning signing.