Peyton Manning has been revered throughout his NFL career for the ability to pick apart defenses with his intellect as much as his right arm, so those smarts could one day be valuable in an NFL front office.
Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Polian, who worked in the Indianapolis Colts front office for Manning's first 14 seasons, told SiriusXM NFL Radio (per Chris Vannini of CoachingSearch.com) he believes the five-time NFL MVP has what it takes to become a general manager:
I believe he could very quickly fill the role that John Elway fills with the Broncos. The reason I say that is, during our 14 years together in Indianapolis, he would often discuss with me prospects coming out in the draft, SEC players he’d seen, players he’d seen in other parts of the country. He pays close attention to the rosters of the other players in the league, with specific attention to the AFC.
Elway co-owned the Colorado Crush of the Arena Football League for six seasons before transitioning into his current role as general manager and executive vice president for the Denver Broncos. Polian believes Manning could handle a job like that right away.
"All he would need would be a brief tutorial on the league rules and things like the general terms of trades and contract language—of which he's also very familiar, because of his own contract," Polian told SiriusXM NFL Radio.
There's still the matter of Manning's playing future, which he could theoretically address before March 9, when his $19 million base salary for 2016 becomes fully guaranteed, and how interested he is in being part of a front office.
If Manning wants to do it, there will likely be multiple suitors for his services. He may not want to step right back into things, but a ringing endorsement about his unique talents from his former general manager certainly helps his credentials.