Colin Kaepernick and 5 Players Gaining Most Stock After Peyton Manning Decision
Now that Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos have agreed to a five-year, $96 million deal, with a press conference to follow, it's time to analyze the ripple effect this will have on the rest of the league.
The impact of this move will be felt far and wide across the NFL landscape.
Which players are gaining stock now that Mr. Manning will be shooting lasers to receivers in the Mile High City next season?
Let's take a look.
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Kaepernick was the 49ers' second-round draft pick in 2011—a player many believed would challenge Alex Smith for the starting job last season.
But after Jim Harbaugh took Smith under his wing and San Fran experienced a magnificent season, Kaepernick became an afterthought.
Now with Smith a free-agent, possibly not returning to the team after they were late entrants into the "Peyton Manning sweepstakes," the former Nevada Wolfpack star has a realistic chance to be the starter for last year's NFC runner-up.
What a bizarre scenario.
Kaepernick will gladly accept the opportunity.
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Thomas, a 2010 first-round pick, was severely slowed by a devastating Achilles tendon injury, but showed glimpses of his immense potential late in the 2011 season and in the playoffs.
At 6'3'' and 235 pounds, he's got all the physical tools to become a true No. 1 with Peyton Manning throwing him the football in the foreseeable future.
If his speed continues to return, watch out—Thomas is oozing with upside.
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Though not as talented athletically as Thomas, Decker was the more consistent wideout in 2010 for the Broncos.
At 6'3'' and 218 pounds, he too can overwhelm smaller cornerbacks.
I see him as more of the chain-moving, possession-type receiver who will be a favorite target of Manning next season.
He sprained his MCL in the team's remarkable postseason win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he should certainly be ready by the start of training camp.
Matt Moore/David Garrard/Kevin Kolb
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This one's easy.
If Manning picked Miami, no way Matt Moore's the starter next year, and no way David Garrard is signed.
If Peyton decided to become an Arizona Cardinal, who knows what would have happened with Kevin Kolb.
None of these guys are fantastic signal-caller options, but two of them, at the very least, will be given a chance to succeed as a starter next season.