Peyton Manning Rumors: What the Experts Are Saying About Manning's Free Agency

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIMarch 7, 2012

Peyton Manning Rumors: What the Experts Are Saying About Manning's Free Agency

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    While it will be unique to see Peyton Manning playing for any team but the Indianapolis Colts, Wednesday's joint press conference with Jim Irsay made it official that Manning has played his last game for the franchise. 

    But the fact that it will be weird to see doesn't mean it won't happen, and we have to keep moving forward. The bottom line is that Manning is a future Hall of Famer and will be a hot commodity on the free-agent market. 

    The rumors are only going to intensify over the next several weeks, and that will not stop until a firm decision has been made on where Manning will play next year. 

    Since you're going to hear a lot of rumors, let's take a look at what some of the insiders think right now to help you separate which rumors are real and which ones are just, well, rumors. 

Evan Silva

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    Evan Silva, who writes for NBC Sports and Pro Football Talk, is looking at this from a business perspective. He goes a little beyond the right or wrong on-field fits. 

    Manning is repped by CAA. Wouldn't expect him to land anywhere with an in-place QB also repped by CAA. Includes SF, KC, JAX, DEN, OAK, BUF.

    — Evan Silva (@evansilva) March 7, 2012

    Our Take

    The only possible exception there is San Francisco, as with Alex Smith's free agency, he isn't quite an "in-place QB," but he's not going anywhere. 

    This idea was backed up by CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco

    The 49ers have an "offer on the table" to scheduled free agent Alex Smith and the club is not interested in signing veteran quarterback Peyton Manning, a well-placed source told on Wednesday.

    Manning will not be going to one of these teams. Only the 49ers, Chiefs and possibly Broncos would make any sense at all, but all of those teams have made the playoffs in one of the last two seasons. 

    In the case of the 49ers and Chiefs, that happened with a good year from the current quarterback. We can debate Tim Tebow in Denver all day, but he identifies his team more than any other active player and the Broncos did just make the playoffs in his first year as a real starter. 

    Long story short: No surprises with this bit of news. 

    Further B/R Reading

    Peyton Manning to Kansas City Chiefs Would Finally Solve Team's QB Woes, by Tim Daniels

    San Francisco 49ers Wise Not to Pursue Peyton Manning and Disturb Chemistry, by Brian Mazique

Mark Maske

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    The Washington Redskins are one of the more logical options, as they have lacked a franchise quarterback for a long time. Mark Maske of the Washington Post wrote that the Redskins will be one of the teams vying for Manning's services.

    Several people familiar with the Redskins’ plans said the team is comfortable with the risks associated with signing Manning, who missed all of last season with the Colts after undergoing a series of neck surgeries. The team will pursue him intently, they said. Redskins officials declined to comment.

    Our Take

    Washington is one of the more sensible options out there. Remember that they beat the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants twice during the regular season, lost a handful of games by eight points or fewer and play in a division that lacks a seriously dominant regular-season team.

    Even the Giants are much better equipped to win in the playoffs than in the regular season. 

    Bringing in a player like Manning would make Washington a playoff contender, and would also give them a year to find the franchise quarterback. The advantage there is that it wouldn't cost them the extra picks that would surely be necessary to trade up to draft Robert Griffin III. 

    Further B/R Reading

    Peyton Manning to Redskins: Why Eli Manning Will Keep Peyton out of Washington, By Timothy Rapp

Rich Cimini

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    The Seattle Seahawks were not far from the playoffs a season ago despite a quarterback situation best described as average. Rich Cimini of ESPN New York is reporting that the Seahawks are going to go hard for Manning. 

    Hearing from a league source the Seahawks will come out, checkbook blazing, for Manning. #Jets

    — Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) March 7, 2012

    Peter King of Sports Illustrated had a similar view, and also suggested that another free agent could come with the deal. 

    Seattle shouldn't be favored in Manning derby at all. But I believe 'Hawks are all-in on Manning-Wayne package deal--and will pay for it.

    — Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) March 7, 2012

    Our Take

    The Redskins make some sense, but no team makes more sense than the Seahawks. They were close to a wild-card berth last year, have a good running attack in Marshawn Lynch and share a division with only one really good team.

    Even they were a complete surprise in 2011 and could easily level off next season. 

    Tarvaris Jackson is not going to be the quarterback to take the Seahawks anywhere. He just doesn't have the tools that it takes to be a starting quarterback for a playoff-caliber NFL team.

    Manning does. They had better pull out all of the stops to make this happen.  

    Further B/R Reading

    Peyton Manning to Seattle Seahawks: Breaking Down Rumors, Fact and Fiction, by Mike Chiari

Adam Schefter

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    According to the Washington Post's Dan Steinberg per ESPN's Adam Schefter, there is a list of four teams, and the Seahawks are not one of them.

    We’re in March, so it’s only fitting that we give you right now a Final Four before it even begins, and I think the Final Four teams to watch at this particular point in time are the Miami Dolphins, the Washington Redskins, the New York Jets and the Arizona Cardinals.

    Our Take

    Ranking those teams in order of what would make the most sense, you have the Dolphins, Redskins, Jets and Cardinals. 

    The Dolphins are the top team, as they showed a lot of progress at the end of last season. Their running game is solid and the defense is really turning into a decent unit. With a quarterback like Manning, they would have what it takes to at least compete for a Wild Card.

    The Cardinals make the least sense because they did just give up an awful lot to get Kevin Kolb. They owe him more than just one season under center with the team that Arizona had in 2011.

    Further B/R Reading:

    Peyton Manning to Miami Dolphins Is Best Long-Term Scenario for Loyal QB, by Donald Wood.

    Peyton Manning Signing with Arizona Cardinals Would Be Epic Mistake for QB, by Wes O'Donnell

Bob Glauber

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    Bob Glauber of New York Newsday wrote that he Jets will be interested in Manning this offseason, despite past loyalties expressed towards Mark Sanchez.

    It's uncertain whether the Jets will be able to sign him, but two people familiar with the situation said the Jets are prepared to make a serious run. Coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum said last month they are happy with Mark Sanchez as their starter, but both said they would not rule out upgrading at any position.

    Our Take

    This is certainly one of the more complicated teams out there, but Sanchez deserves at least one more year as the quarterback of the team. 

    Remember, he was good enough to take the team to the AFC Championship Game two years in a row, winning four playoff games on the road. That shows a great mental makeup.

    Also, while this last year was far from ideal, the Jets were hardly the worst team in the league. 

    Further B/R Reading

    Peyton Manning to New York Jets: Star QB Must Avoid Unstable Jets at All Costs, by Adam Wells