With an up-and-coming defense to back up the other side of the ball, Jake Long to protect his blindside, Reggie Bush to run the football and Brandon Marshall to throw to, many considered Miami to be a realistic landing spot.
That was of course before the Dolphins traded the NFL’s reigning Pro Bowl MVP, Brandon Marshall, to the Chicago Bears for two third-round draft picks.
Leaving Davone Bess as the team's top receiver in the wake of Marshall's departure, it would be easy to understand if Manning became less enthusiastic about joining a team with such little talent at the receiver position.
Marshall has the longest current streak of consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (five) and has managed to earn three Pro Bowl selections with two different teams. Each time, a different quarterback has been throwing him the football; none of whom have been as talented as Manning.
It can also be argued that Manning has never had the opportunity to throw to a physical wide receiver the caliber of Marshall.
As Manning now turns his attention to three possible teams left in the bidding (the Broncos, Titans and 49ers), we can only speculate as to how much of an impact trading Marshall may have had on Manning's decision not to sign with Miami.
It doesn't appear as though the Dolphins did enough to entice the future Hall of Famer to return to the site where he both won Super Bowl XLI and lost Super Bowl XLIV.
Peyton Manning could have been playing for the Dolphins.
Perhaps next time.
Only next time, there will be no Peyton Manning available.
Ryan Michael is a Senior Writer for Bleacher Report. Any questions, comments or professional inquiries can be directed to his email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/#!/theryanmichael
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