Indianapolis Colts: Trading Peyton Manning Would Be a Huge Mistake

Nicholas SteblenkoContributor IIIDecember 8, 2011

Indianapolis Colts: Trading Peyton Manning Would Be a Huge Mistake

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    It seems to me that every analyst in the NFL has already made it a foregone conclusion that the Colts will trade Peyton Manning and draft Andrew Luck in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft.

    BIG mistake.

    There are far too many reasons that are being overlooked as to why this is a mistake too. There is the simple fact that he is a first ballot Hall of Fame candidate, but the fact of the matter is that Andrew Luck is not a sure thing by any means.

    Here are some reasons why the Colts should keep Manning, regardless of their choice to draft Luck or not.

Manning Is a Living Legend

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    First things first, let's lay out the obvious.

    Peyton Manning is going to go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. Period.

    The man has been one of the key players in the evolution of the quarterback position into what we are witnessing today. The NFL has become a passing league, and we can thank Peyton Manning enough for that.

    Manning is a four-time NFL MVP and an 11-time Pro Bowler. He has amassed 54,828 yards passing and 399 touchdowns with a 64.9% completion percentage over his 13-year career. By the numbers alone, he is already in the ranks of the all-time greats in the NFL.

    If it weren't for this season, he would have been well on his way to breaking Brett Favre's record for consecutive starts, although that is pure speculation at this point.

    Peyton Manning is considered to be one of the few quarterbacks who knew the offense so well that he could call his own plays throughout the entire drive.

    He spent tireless hours studying the defensive opponent each week, was the first to show up and the last to leave. He dedicated his life to his work and was the best at it.

    To replace a first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback with unproven hype will certainly take guts on the part of Bill Polian.

Andrew Luck Is Unproven at This Point in His Career

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    What if he is a bust?

    That is the major question that surrounds this kid right now. Sure, Andrew Luck is supposedly the next Peyton Manning, and go-figure that the Colts would be given the chance to draft a successor to their current star.

    What if he fails?

    People remember the draft that Peyton was taken first from overall, right? Looming directly behind Manning was another sure-fire NFL star named Ryan Leaf. Looks like that panned out great for the Chargers.

    Luck is the most-hyped player in the draft SINCE Peyton Manning himself, but the fact remains that he is a stud in COLLEGE. Not all great players in college translate their success into the pros. Here are a few examples...

    Tim Couch

    Akili Smith

    Troy Smith

    Jamarcus Russell

    Brady Quinn

    And that's just the quarterback position from the past decade or so. There are a slew of college players who endured success during their time in school but just simply can't cut it at the next level. No matter how well they WERE, it matters how they are now.

    So the question for the Colts is, do they really want to risk giving up their stud for a roll of the dice?

Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers

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    It worked once, why not again?

    I don't really care what Archie Manning has to say on the subject. He can keep blowing smoke up everyone's you-know-what about how the two can't exist, but the fact is that the NFL is a production league.

    Odds are that most players don't step into a starting role and produce at a pro-bowl level straight out of college without a little help. Brett and Aaron are a great example of a situation where a first rounder waited patiently and learned from a Hall of Fame player. So what is so different about this situation?

    It's simple. The media has led everyone to believe that Andrew Luck is the second coming of Peyton Manning, therefore it would cause a rift in the space-time continuum if the two were on the same team.

    So simple.

    It may seem silly to think that two great players can coexist at the same position, but what if this neck injury took three years off of Manning's career? It wouldn't be a terrible thing for the Colts then, would it?

    Okay, so the two players might cause a problem in the Colts' front office in terms of a contract situation.But if the Colts' management does its job explaining their situation to Luck, he should have no problem learning from the best in the game for a couple of years while the Colts rebuild the rest of their roster (once again you can turn to the Packers on this one).

    It just doesn't seem like you could create a better situation for a young player to be in than to learn behind a player considered to be one of the best to ever play his position. If I were Luck, I would be ecstatic to be paid as the top rookie while learning from the best.

    Then again, I'm not an NFL football player.

Worse Comes to Worst, the Colts Could Just Trade the Pick Away

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    Let's say you've defeated every other argument presented in this article. You think that the opportunity to draft Andrew Luck is a once-in-a-lifetime shot, and you will never get this chance again.

    Well, the Colts will have it twice in 13 years. Never again? I don't think so.

    The league has been shown first-hand what the Colts are without Peyton Manning at the helm. Winless, defeated, and downright pathetic.

    Of course, anyone who turns to Dan Orlovsky for a solution, as temporary as it may be, has got to be desperate. 

    With Manning, the Colts are a force to be reckoned with. They are a team that every defense looks for on their schedule, because Manning adds an element to the game that can't be measured.

    So why not rebuild the team around HIM?

    The number-one pick is a coveted pick, and this year it is bigger than ever. With the massive media melee that surrounds Luck's presence in this year's draft, the Colts could place a hefty price tag on the pick.

    Whether it be for players on defense or for more picks to rebuild through the draft, the Colts could be set up for a deep playoff run if they play their cards right.

    Just think if Polian and his staff could work a little magic, they might even be in a position like Belichick and the Patriots who seem to have more picks hidden in their bag of tricks than there are available in the entire draft itself.

    If the Colts draft Luck, they are committing to another year or two of rebuilding across the entire organization.

    Players like Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark are going to have a tough time dealing with a rookie quarterback so late in their careers, and with a porous offensive line, the Colts could use their picks more wisely than buying into the hype.

Peyton Manning Has Been Loyal to the Organization

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    There are certain players in this league who will forever be tied to the organization they so proudly represented throughout their careers. Players that helped build something worthwhile and who it would be tough to see in another uniform.

    Manning is the quintessential Indianapolis Colt of the 21st century.

    Guys like Emmit Smith, Barry Sanders, and even as far back as Bart Starr, are players who were faithful to the organizations that drafted them. They had Hall of Fame careers and contributed years of success to their teams, for which those organizations can be forever grateful.

    It would be a shame to be the Colts' organization and have to be spiteful of losing one of the greatest to ever wear a uniform for them.

    As a Packers fan, it was difficult to watch "The Brett Favre Saga," as I call it. It was even harder when he put on a purple jersey and led the Vikings to the playoffs. The worst feeling, though, was watching him play against the Packers. Something just didn't seem right.

    Manning is a Colt, through and through. He has served the organization faithfully and has done nothing to warrant mistreatment from the front office. As I have said repeatedly, he is a sure-fire Hall of Fame quarterback and will go down as one of the greatest to ever play the game.

    Shouldn't the Colts want to treat him right, too?