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How Peyton Manning Choosing the Broncos Impacted the Rest of the NFL

ENGLEWOOD, CO - MARCH 20:  Quarterback Peyton Manning (L) poses executive vice president of football operations John Elway (R) during a news conference announcing Manning's contract with the Denver Broncos in the team meeting room at the Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre on March 20, 2012 in Englewood, Colorado. Manning, entering his 15th NFL season, was released by the Indianapolis Colts on March 7, 2012, where he had played his whole career. It has been reported that Manning will sign a five-year, $96 million offer.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Jamal CollierAnalyst IIIOctober 16, 2012

The 2012 NFL offseason quarterback carousel would have looked a lot different if Peyton Manning hadn’t chosen to be a member of the Denver Broncos.

Six weeks into the NFL season, the frenzied courtship of Manning and the avalanche of reactionary moves that followed his decision have been completely justified.

Manning would have added even more intrigue to the already crowded NFC if he opted for any one of the NFC West teams not named the St. Louis Rams (who weren’t involved in chasing him).

ESPN NFL analyst Andrew Brandt outlined a few moves that were most likely made because Manning chose Denver.

Peyton choosing Broncos led to Cardinals paying Kolb option, Seattle signing Flynn,Jets re-working Sanchez contract, etc.

Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt)

If the Arizona Cardinals were able to land Manning, they would have had no need to pick up Kevin Kolb’s option on his contract. There would have been no quarterback controversy that lasted through an NFL-high five preseason games.

Larry Fitzgerald would likely be in the midst of a career year, but how long it would have sustained itself is a major question mark—just like the Arizona offensive line.

John Skelton would probably have found himself under center somehow.

The Seahawks went after Matt Flynn when they fell out of the running for Manning. He was then outplayed by a third-round rookie, Russell Wilson, in camp. That kept Flynn off of any other NFL rosters.

Maybe he would have wound up in Arizona to replace Kolb.

Wilson, meanwhile, would have patiently waited out Manning’s tenure in Seattle (much like Brock Osweiler is doing in Denver) with little to no clamoring from fans for Wilson to take the field.

Either of those scenarios would have made the NFC an even deeper conference. If Manning signed with the New York Jets, he would have put them on the Super Bowl radar and given them a real chance to win the AFC East.

Because he went to an AFC team, Manning’s signing in Denver seems to have balanced the conferences—as much as one player can—knowing what we know now.

Playing in the AFC, he and the Broncos appear to have a better chance at getting into the playoffs. Denver was already a playoff team last year that won a game under the on-field leadership of Tim Tebow.

Manning is a more highly-skilled quarterback and has been doing the leading thing for years. Choosing the Broncos gave him a clearer path to the Lombardi trophy than he could have found in most other locations.

 

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