Peyton Manning's search for a new team continues today as Manning looks to find the next best fit for his career. In free agency, I expected Manning to make a move not based on financial motivation, but on motivation to add to his legacy with at least one more Super Bowl ring.
Shockingly, Manning appears to be completely ignoring one of the teams who were interested in signing him. The one team that is by far and away the best fit for Manning's football future.
The Kansas City Chiefs were the first team to offer Peyton Manning a contract but Manning never seemingly entertained the idea of playing for Romeo Crennel's team. The Chiefs had previously committed to Matt Cassel verbally, but, much like a high school star, verbal commitments aren't worth anything in the NFL.
There is no question the Chiefs want Manning, but Manning can't see the appeal of the Chiefs.
Last season, the Chiefs finished 7-9 but that does not tell the whole story of the current state of their franchise. The team had a horrible run of injuries beginning in the preseason and lasting throughout the year. The worst thing about the Chiefs' injuries were that they all hit key players: Jamaal Charles, Tony Moeaki, Eric Berry and Matt Cassel.
Those players are all expected to return for the coming season, however.
In fact, in the long term, the Chiefs' injury list last year actually should have made their team more appealing to Manning. The Chiefs are picking in the top half of the draft despite having a very talented roster with very few holes to fill.
While they can add to the roster through the draft, they can also use chunks of their large amount of available cap space. The Chiefs already have the pieces in place on their offense to get the best out of Manning, but they could also commit money to bring in players whom he requests.
Offensively, Manning has everything he needs in place: A deep receiving corp, a receiving tight end, multiple receiving running backs and an offensive line with the abilities (and avenues) to improve with him.
Most importantly, however, and another knock-on effect from last season, the Chiefs also have a great defensive mind as their head coach.
While John Elway may be able to talk X's and O's with Peyton Manning to win him over in Denver, that is not what Manning needs in a franchise. Manning can look after the X's and O's himself. What he needs is a coaching staff who can take care of the other side of the ball.
Despite being a failure as a head coach in Cleveland, Crennel was a great defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, winning three Super Bowls. The Chiefs' defense is a young and talented group that should improve if Crennel can continue to focus on them.
With Eric Berry returning, Brandon Flowers being joined by Stanford Routt, Kenrick Lewis emerging last year, Tamba Hali still in his prime, Justin Houston emerging across from him, Derrick Johnson in the middle playing behind Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, the Chiefs defense only really needs to add a nose tackle to be championship worthy.
If Manning could get the best out of Tony Moeaki, Jonathan Baldwin, Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles, Dexter McCluster, Steve Breaston and whomever else is added through free agency or the draft, then the Chiefs could even be considered the Super Bowl favorite entering next season.
Kansas City may not be as attractive a city as Denver, Tennessee or even Miami, at least not to Manning, but as far as football goes, which is what Manning supposedly cares the most about as opposed to sales pitches, nobody can match the Chiefs as a fit for Manning.
If Peyton Manning desires a Super Bowl more than he does fanfare or better finances, then he is making a mistake by not entertaining the Kansas City Chiefs' advances for him.