|After 14 years, Manning and Irsay are getting set to split. (Getty Images)|
Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts are breaking up, and they’ll make it official at a news conference Wednesday, CBSSport.com's Mike Freeman has confirmed.
The news was first reported by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
The decision isn’t a surprise, considering Indianapolis was highly unlikely to pay Manning his $28 million bonus when so much about the health of his neck is unknown.
Thus ends a 14-year partnership when Manning took over a moribund Colts squad and helped develop the franchise into one of the best in the NFL.
Sources tell Mortensen that Manning -- who will be in attendance at the presser along with owner Jim Irsay -- will try to continue his career.
But this day was due to come. No matter how much love is shared by Irsay and Manning -- and despite their pissing contest this offseason, the two have had a strong relationship during their time together -- the Colts couldn’t continue on with a Manning-sized quarterback question. It's all but certain that Indianapolis will take Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick in the draft, and though a Luck apprenticeship under Manning would have been fine for a year or two (even Luck said he’d be cool with it), it wouldn’t have helped the organization if Manning decided he wants to play another half-decade.
|Latest news at Peyton's place|
And what of Manning’s health? A workout video of what appeared to be Manning was leaked last weekend, and Manning -- if it really was him -- appeared to be in fine form. But remember, a report a few weeks ago said that Manning actually had a fourth neck procedure and that he might need another spinal fusion.
The spin emanating from both sides was almost comparable to the current Presidential race. You didn’t know what to believe.
Well, we can believe this: we have seen the last of Manning in a Colts uniform.
Which leads us to this question: Where does he go from here? The Dolphins seem to be a front-runner, because of the supposed Manning infatuation of owner Stephen Ross. As do the Cardinals, who could be willing to end the one-year Kevin Kolb experiment, and the Redskins -- who are always willing to try to become the offseason champion. The Chiefs and the Jets also could be in play, especially considering Romeo Crennel and Rex Ryan haven’t given their respective quarterbacks huge endorsements.
Also, this is bad news for Matt Flynn, who automatically becomes less interesting to the league when Manning hits the market. And depending on when Manning signs with another team -- which, if he’s released, he could do immediately, as opposed to waiting until free agency begins March 13 -- he could have an effect on the teams that might be interested in trading with the Rams for the right to draft Robert Griffin III.
Though we seemingly know the outcome to the Manning-Colts marriage, there are still plenty of questions to be answered in the weeks to come.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.