2012 NFL Free Agents: Why San Francisco Would Regret Signing Peyton Manning

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 11:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts looks on from the sidelines during the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers would be making a mistake by signing Peyton Manning.

Many believed that the Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans were the favorites to land the free-agent quarterback, but now San Francisco has surprised many and thrown their hat into the ring.

The news only broke earlier in the week that Manning had undergone a physical for the team and thrown some passes.

Many experts and fans think that adding Manning would immediately make the 49ers a favorite for the Super Bowl.

That might be true, but it's still not a move the team should pursue. If the team could get Manning for a year or two, it would make more sense. Instead, Manning is reportedly looking at securing a five-year, $90 million deal.

That's an awful long deal for a lot of money for a player who's going to turn 36 in a week and is coming off a season-ending neck injury. Plus, no one really knows if Manning can make a full recovery from his surgery.

The demand for him is so high that it isn't as if the 49ers can play hardball with him in order to get a better deal. If he can't get the money in San Francisco, he'll just go to Tennessee.

With the NFL, teams can just cut a player without paying out his contract. In terms of Manning, though, it's doubtful that the team that signs him will have that kind of leverage.

Peyton Manning might be a huge name, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's the right move.

The Vikings and Jets thought that signing Brett Favre would turn them into Super Bowl contenders, but in the end it didn't happen. Especially with the Jets, the whole situation became a soap opera.

The biggest question is if the 49ers even need him to make the Super Bowl?

The team were knocked out of the conference championship game in overtime by the eventual Super Bowl winners.

They made huge strides under Jim Harbaugh.

Alex Smith might not be the best quarterback in the league, but he did only throw five interceptions to 17 touchdowns.

San Francisco should perhaps save some of that money to improve the receiving core. Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis are good options, but after that it gets a little thin.

Regardless, Smith is a quarterback who can lead the 49ers to the promised land.