Top 25 NFL Personnel Impacted by Peyton Manning Job Search

Dan Van WieContributor IIIMarch 16, 2012

Top 25 NFL Personnel Impacted by Peyton Manning Job Search

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    While Peyton Manning sits down over the next few days to conduct his Ben Franklin list of the pros and cons of the three remaining suitors for his services (presumably Denver, Tennessee and Arizona), we thought it might be an interesting exercise to reflect on the top 25 NFL personnel that have been directly impacted by Manning.

    It was not intentionally done by Manning, but each of these 25 individuals have had their livelihood recently influenced by Manning, either directly or indirectly.

    It is sort of like the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon," only Peyton Manning style.

Bill Polian

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    Bill Polian, of course, was the general manager for the Indianapolis Colts that drafted Peyton Manning. Polian was hired by the Colts in 1997 and he made Manning the first-overall draft pick in the 1998 draft.

    Polian served as the general manager for the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and the Colts. He has the unique distinction of helping to lead all three franchises to the Super Bowl, which is an amazing accomplishment.

    But, Polian failed to have a backup plan for what the Colts would do if ever Peyton Manning went down with a serious injury. When Manning couldn't play in 2011 and the team went 2-14, he was fired by Jim Irsay.

    You can now hear Polian as a NFL analyst over at ESPN.

Jim Caldwell

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    Jim Caldwell was Peyton Manning's final coach with the Indianapolis Colts.

    Caldwell tried to do his best to rally the Colts during the 2011 season, but when you lose a player of the magnitude of Peyton Manning, and the only other guys you can turn to are Curtis Painter, Dan Orvlosky and Kerry Collins, you know you are in trouble.

    The Colts 2-14 record for 2011 was regrettable, but when the Colts replaced Bill Polian with new general manager Ryan Grigson, it wasn't clear what would happen with Caldwell.

    Sure enough, Grigson decided to go with his own man, so Caldwell was fired, and is now the Baltimore Ravens quarterback coach.

Mark Sanchez

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    Even though the New York Jets didn't meet with Peyton Manning, they made overtures that they were interested in talking to him. When that didn't pan out, the Jets quickly made amends to their starting quarterback Mark Sanchez with a new contract extension.

    The Jets were trying to entice Manning to come to New York City, where he and brother Eli could attempt to share the spotlight. Peyton wanted no part of that, and the Jets weren't really under consideration.

    Rather than make Mark Sanchez wonder what the Jets' commitment to him was, the Jets decided it was better instead to just extend Sanchez with a new contract. The deal is a five-year, $58.25 million contract. The deal contains $20.5 million guaranteed, including an $8 million signing bonus.

    Well at least one AFC quarterback got his signing bonus in 2012, and Kevin Kolb would make two, thanks directly or indirectly to Peyton Manning.

Pierre Garcon

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    When it looked like a done deal that Peyton Manning wasn't going to be playing for the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, Garcon spurned the Colts offers to consider a new contract with the team, and bolted to free agency, where he found a bigger offer waiting for him from Daniel Snyder and the Washington Redskins.

    Now Garcon will hope to form a long bond with Robert Griffin III. Pretty nice track record that Garcon has, catching passes from Peyton Manning to Robert Griffin III.

    His deal was for five years, and a $42.5 million contract. Garcon also gets $21.5 million guaranteed.

Jake Locker

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    Before Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams spoke up and said that he wanted to sign Peyton Manning (period), the Titans plans were for Jake Locker and Matt Hasselbeck to fight it out in training camp to see who win the battle to become starting quarterback in 2012.

    If Peyton Manning picks the Titans, what becomes of Locker? Will he be asked to hold a clipboard for the next three years or so, or will the Titans look to trade him away to a team that is in need of some quarterback help, like Cleveland or Seattle?

    Would Locker be willing to learn under Manning for a year or two, or will he demand to be traded since he probably thinks he is ready this year?

Matt Flynn

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    The whole world of Matt Flynn is quite upside-down for now until Peyton Manning decides where he wants to go. The Miami Dolphins were trying to hold out on showing their interest in Flynn until they knew where they officially stood with Manning.

    The Seattle Seahawks already knew that they were out of the running, so they didn't waste much time in bringing Flynn in for a visit. The Dolphins and even Cleveland Browns might still get more actively involved in trying to sign Flynn, but he has probably been more impacted by Manning than anybody else.

    Now with the Dolphins seemingly out of the Manning chase, they are considered to be the favorites to sign Flynn, as per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Tim Tebow

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    If Peyton Manning ultimately chooses the Denver Broncos, then the big question is what happens to Tim Tebow?

    Will the Broncos keep him to be a goal line specialist, where he has a good chance to run the ball in. Could Tebow serve as a fullback in Denver with Manning as the quarterback?

    Or, will John Elway just decide not to deal with the drama surrounding Tebow, and trade him away without much concern for what he gets back?

    If you thought the coverage in following Manning's decision was intense, wait until you see the coverage of what the Broncos will do with Tebow if Manning decides to go to Denver.

Reggie Wayne

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    Reggie Wayne and Peyton Manning. They were presumed to be a package deal until Wayne shocked the NFL by returning to the Indianapolis Colts to serve as the top receiver for Andrew Luck.

    While the Manning and Wayne package seemed to make for a good story, Wayne decided that he didn't want to be part of the three-ring-circus any longer. He will probably retire as a Colts player, and will serve as a strong top receiver option for Luck. 

    Wayne will ultimately serve as one of the bridges that spans the Manning to Luck connection.

Jeff Saturday

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    There is still the prospect of Jeff Saturday hiking the ball to Peyton Manning depending on what team Manning selects.

    The Titans seem to be very interested in Scott Wells, so maybe we won't see Saturday hiking the ball to Manning any longer, but they have been together for a long time.

Steve Hutchinson

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    Steve Hutchinson was suddenly hired by the Tennessee Titans to a three-year deal for $16 million. Hutchinson has a connection with Peyton Manning, and the Titans signing Hutchinson to a new deal was thought to be another feather in the Titans cap.

    Even though Hutchinson is 34 years old, the Titans decided to step up with a three-year deal.

Matt Hasselbeck

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    Matt Hasselbeck is waiting word to see where Peyton Manning has decided to play. If Manning chooses to play for the Tennessee Titans, it means that the Titans have to decide which incumbent quarterback remains with the team as a backup to Manning. It boils down to either Hasselbeck or Jake Locker.

    If the Titans keep Locker, then Hasselbeck could wind up being traded to Cleveland, or.....wait for it,... back to Seattle again!! Stranger things have happened.

    Hasselbeck is under contract to the Titans for 2012 and 2013. If Manning chooses to play for Denver, than Hasselbeck is back to fighting it out with Locker to see who starts for Tennessee. No harm, no foul, right?

Brandon Marshall

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    When Peyton Manning was getting ready to meet with the Miami Dolphins, there was some question marks about the Dolphins interest in putting up with the never-ending off-the-field issues with Brandon Marshall.

    While some thought the Dolphins trade of Marshall to the Chicago Bears would help to pave the way for Manning to join Miami, the reality was that the trade left the Dolphins without a top wide receiver. That may have led to Manning's decision to ultimately dismiss the Dolphins as a potential employer.

    Well, Marshall now is out of the AFC East and the warmth of Miami, and moves to the NFC North and to Chicago. Hopefully, the move doesn't make him angry. At least he is paired up with Jay Cutler again.

Colt McCoy

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    Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy must be sitting on pins and needles waiting to see if the Browns are going to bringing in another quarterback that is capable of taking his starting job.

    The Browns were never interested in Peyton Manning, but they might have been interested in Matt Flynn. The Browns are said to be looking to add more weapons on offense around McCoy, but you would have to think that if a quarterback like Jake Locker or Matt Hasselbeck is suddenly available to be traded, that Mike Holmgren would at least listen.

    This impact is more of the indirect nature, but it still could have a big impact on Colt McCoy's status as a starting quarterback in the NFL.

Alex Smith

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    You have to wonder why it is taking the San Francisco 49ers so long to sign free-agent quarterback Alex Smith to a contract. Supposedly the two sides are still negotiating towards a new deal, but something is preventing the two parties from reaching a final agreement.

    Could it be that one side of this deal is secretly dragging their feet to find out what the Manning fallout would be? If Manning picks the Titans, could the 49ers have an interest in Matt Hasselbeck over Alex Smith?

    Would the Browns then want to sign Alex Smith to challenge Colt McCoy to be the starter? There is a world of possibilities, but that is why this exercise is so intriguing.

    Word is finally out, according to Chris Mortensen from ESPN, that the 49ers are the mystery team that has entered the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. As for Alex Smith, all bets are off. He is now in a very precarious situation for however long it takes Manning to make up his mind.

    Purely for what it is worth, I predicted that the 49ers made tremendous sense as the next home for Manning in this article I wrote for Bleacher Report back on Feb. 13, a little over a month ago.

Dallas Clark

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    Dallas Clark was once a top tight end in the NFL, but those days seem to be in the past as Clark appears to be nearing the end of his career.

    During 2007, 2008 and 2009, Clark was an important part of the Colts offense. In 2007 he caught 11 touchdown passes. In 2008, Clark had 77 receptions and in 2009 he had 100 receptions for a career high 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns.

    It has been all downhill for the last two years since. In 2010 and 2011, his receptions have been down to 37 and 34. His yardage has been 347 and 352. His touchdown catches are down to three and two.

    Whether there is room for Clark on Manning's new team remains to be seen. They enjoyed a nice long run together, as Clark was a target for Manning in eight of his nine NFL seasons.

Scott Wells

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    One of the ways that the Tennessee Titans can improve their chances to land Peyton Manning is to strengthen their offensive line. Enter free agent center Scott Wells, from the Green Bay Packers.

    If the Titans sign Wells, who happens to be a native of Nashville, it would mean that the Titans offensive line is just that much better, which has to mean something to a quarterback like Manning, who probably would prefer to be hit less at his age. By the way, Manning will be turning 36 years old a week from this Saturday (March 24).

Ryan Grigson

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    When Bill Polian was fired, the Indianapolis Colts hired Ryan Grigson to become the new general manager for the franchise.

    One of Grigson's first decisions was to fire Jim Caldwell, followed by the decision with owner Jim Irsay on what to do about paying the roster bonus due to Peyton Manning. What a way to begin on the new job.

    This is Grigson's first job as a NFL general manager. Most recently he had been the director of player personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles. Any guess as to how long it takes for his hair to start turning grey?

Chuck Pagano

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    The new head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in Chuck Pagano. He was hired to take over from Jim Caldwell, so this would be one of the more indirect people that Peyton Manning's situation had an impact on, as I am not aware of any existing relationship between the two men.

    The Colts are opting to go now with a defensive-minded head coach, which is what Pagano is. He will be looking to shore up the Colts offense, and then will hope that Andrew Luck will come up to speed sooner than later to keep the Colts competitive.

    We can assume that Pagano has schemed on how to defeat Manning before, but that would be the extent of their prior relationship.

John Elway

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    John Elway has been personally involved in trying to recruit Peyton Manning to the Denver Broncos. If there is anybody that has ever been through some of the same things that Manning has been through in his career, it would be John Elway. The two legendary quarterbacks can relate on a multitude of levels.

    If Manning decides to join the Broncos, it suddenly gives John Elway a realistic reason for removing Tim Tebow from the roster. Sure, Elway could decide to keep Tebow to learn from Manning, or maybe even keep him around to run some Wildcat offense on occasion to keep defenses guessing what Denver wants to do.

    But if the Broncos aren't the team Manning picks, then Elway will have to do some damage control and try to restore confidence and faith in Tebow again. Good luck with that John.

Bud Adams

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    Who is this man, and why is he smiling?

    Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams said that he wanted Peyton Manning. It didn't matter what his football operations people said, and it didn't matter that the Titans already had two quarterbacks that were set to compete for the starting job on the roster. Adams was enamored with Manning and as long as he felt that way, the Titans needed to snap to it and do what they could do keep Adams happy.

    Adams would like to bring Manning back to Tennessee, where he was a star quarterback for the Volunteers. That makes sense. Sell as many tickets as he can. Manning also has a great chance to propel the Titans to AFC South division champions and take them further in the playoffs than they would have gone on their own with Locker and Hasselbeck.

Robert Mathis

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    It was widely believed that the Indianapolis Colts were going to let Robert Mathis walk in free agency. But when the Colts decided to let Peyton Manning become a free agent and not give him the $28 million roster bonus, the decision saved the Colts some money to play with.

    Hard to say that the money saved went directly to Robert Mathis, but it was a fairly big surprise around the NFL that the rebuilding Colts team decided to sign Mathis to a big contract.

    Mathis is now set to receive $36 million for a four-year deal. He gets a $15 million signing bonus and will realize $24 million during 2012-2013 seasons. Not bad for a 31-year-old player on a rebuilding team. Mathis should have sent a box of cigars to Manning as a big thank you.

Eddie Royal

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    One of the interesting situations that seemed to slip by without much notice, was that free agent wide receiver Eddie Royal left the Denver Broncos for the San Diego Chargers.

    If the Broncos were trying to ultimately convince Peyton Manning that Denver was the place to be, wouldn't they want to have the best possible wide receiving corps possible? But, you didn't hear any talk or rumors of the Broncos trying to keep him or negotiate a deal.

    For Royal, it came down to the Redskins and the Chargers, with the Chargers winning out.They signed Royal for three-year deal, worth $13.5 million.

    If Manning chooses the Titans, could this have been one of the reasons why?

Jim Irsay

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    Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay did the best job that he could to put a positive spin on the Peyton Manning exit interview from the Colts franchise and to do what was in the best interests of the team.

    They held their emotional press conference, (see video replay from Bleacher Report's Mike Chiari article), and Irsay made sure that the Colts fans knew that this was a mutual decision and that Irsay didn't force Manning out of town.

    To be sure, Irsay is fairly clever at being a spin-doctor, and he will do his best to keep the Colts fans happy and know that they are working hard to rebuild their franchise again.

    The Colts fans have been spoiled for a long time with Manning (easy thing for a Bills fan to say), and now they are blessed to have Andrew Luck fall in their laps to succeed him.

Andrew Luck

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    When the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning parted ways, it had a direct impact on Andrew Luck's rookie season in the NFL.

    Instead of spending a year or two as the clipboard holder and apprentice-in-training as the future Colts quarterback, Luck now will be handed the ball from Week 1 and told to "Go, get 'em kid".

    That will have a significant impact on Luck's growth and development, being thrown into the fire from day one. While it is not yet known which veteran quarterback the Colts will ultimately sign to come in and serve as Luck's mentor, it would have been special for Luck to have served under Manning for a year or two.

    That education would have been worth as much or more than the degree he earned from Stanford, with obvious apologies to Stanford University and their alumni. 

Robert Griffin III

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    When the Washington Redskins knew that their chances were not looking very good for signing Peyton Manning, they abandoned Plan A, and quickly moved ahead with Plan B.

    Plan B was to seal the deal by trading up whatever they needed to do to satisfy Jeff Fisher and the St. Louis Rams, and acquire the rights to have the No. 2 overall draft pick. That pick will turn into Robert Griffin III, and he becomes just one more player that is impacted by Peyton Manning. 

    If Manning had gone to Washington, who knows which team would have ultimately won out on the trade with the Rams to draft Griffin. As it is, the Redskins have redone their receiving corps in free agency, and Griffin will wind up throwing the ball all over the field from day one. 

Bonus Slide: NFL Fans

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    The 12th Man, as the NFL fans are referred to around NFL cities. The Indianapolis Colts fans that are so sad to see Peyton Manning go. The elation of the fan base of the new team that Manning decides to join.

    We wanted to acknowledge that it is difficult for many fans to see the face of their franchise leave or put on the uniform of another team. Whenever Peyton Manning has to go back to Indianapolis and play against the Colts, that will be a difficult day for all parties involved.

    But that is what NFL fans need to appreciate and accept. The players want the chance to go out there and see how much they are worth. It was an unfortunate string of events that collided and made it difficult for the Colts and Manning to stay joined at the hip. When circumstances spiraled out of control, everybody tried to make the best of it, but the end result was that a number of lives were altered over how the 2011 season turned out for Manning and the Colts.

    Will there be any other NFL personnel that winds up being impacted by the Peyton Manning search before it is all said and done? We suspect that there will be.

    Thanks for checking out the presentation.