Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck has let it be known that he will enter the 2012 NFL draft, and with the Indianapolis Colts sitting at 0-12 and expecting four-time MVP quarterback Peyton Manning back next season, the team is in a bit of a bind.
Luck will clearly be the top player available in April's draft, but can the Colts really afford to take him with the top pick with so many holes on their roster and a franchise quarterback already in place? I don't think so.
There can only be one alpha dog on a team, and the Colts are Manning's team until he decides to hang up his cleats. From the sound of things, Manning seems to think he has a few years left. I actually agree with him. If he can prove his neck injury is healed, the 35-year-old may have at least three good years left.
Luck won't want to sit behind Manning for that long, since he clearly thinks he's ready to play now. People are wondering if the two players could work together. They might be able to for one season, but I think Archie Manning is correct in assuming that the two quarterbacks would prefer to not be on the same roster.
If the Colts hang on to the top pick and don't trade down, they could end up with a mess on their hands. Instead of using the No. 1 spot to acquire a ton of picks to fill a roster with a ton of holes, if they kept the pick and took Luck, they would be drafting a player at a position that is already filled. It would be more mismanagement from a franchise that has bungled things pretty badly of late.
If the Colts take Luck, you can bet Manning will look for a way out of town. The problem is, his five-year, $90 million contract would be a gigantic pill to swallow for any team that is interested in bringing him aboard. That may be too big of an obstacle for a trade to actually happen.
While the Colts won't say it publicly because they would lose their leverage in trade negotiations, they should be planning to trade the pick and essentially auction it off to the highest bidder. While Manning and Luck may like each other and be great guys, putting them both on the same roster could be a disaster for Indianapolis.