Blog Entry

Where will Peyton Manning play in 2012?

Posted on: March 6, 2012 7:43 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 11:20 pm
Where will Peyton play in 2012? And will it feature Wayne? (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Peyton Manning, by the end of the week, will no longer be a member of the Colts. It could happen as soon as Wednesday, but it's happening. It's the end of an era, and a new one is going to start soon.

But where? Manning is going to play somewhere and he's going to have his choice of a couple of nice spots. Let's break down where he might end up and why each of the potential landing spots does or does not make sense.

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona's always been my personal favorite landing spot for Manning, mainly because they did this same thing with Kurt Warner many moons ago and had great success. Also, you'd have to think they'd like to get out of having Kevin Kolb, and the Bidwell family isn't shy about grabbing big-name veterans.

Pros: Larry Fitzgerald. Also: Larry Fitzgerald. Did we mention Larry Fitzgerald? Seriously though, Fitz is one of the best receivers in the game and he's put up monster stats with mediocre quarterbacks. Arizona's got a defense that came on strong late last year. They play in a relatively weak division; regardless of San Fran's success in 2011, they would be the favorite to win the NFC West with a healthy Manning. Their running game is decent enough, especially if Ryan Williams can return. Reggie Wayne would make this offense hum too. Perhaps Arizona's biggest advantage? They have a domed stadium with natural grass.

Cons: Their offense line needs work, but that's where free agency and the draft comes in. They have a commitment to Kevin Kolb due on March 17, which means the window to land Manning is incredibly short. They can't risk whiffing on Peyton and coughing up Kolb.
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Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins also make sense for a number of reasons (see: below), but primarily because they've desperately craved a quarterback since Dan Marino left town. It's the worst-kept secret in the NFL that ownership wants to make the offense a little sexier to bump up ticket sales. Peyton would do that.

Pros: South Beach, where Manning has a condo, is very nice this time of year, provided "this time of year" means "always." The Dolphins have one of the best left tackles in the game in Jake Long to shore up Manning's blindside. Brandon Marshall and Davonne Bess, with the addition of Reggie Wayne and/or Pierre Garcon is a filthy receiving corps. Reggie Bush was a feature back last year, somehow, but would be even more effective playing out of a Peyton-styled offense. They have lots of talent on the defense and could compete right away with Manning. There is no quarterback to worry about replacing. They play the Dolphins in South Beach.

Cons: The division is one of the toughest in the NFL. Peyton would have to play Tom Brady twice a year (although that's awesome for the rest of us). Joe Philbin, the new head coach, comes from Green Bay which means he could be in love with Matt Flynn. That could potentially make it awkward for Manning if owner Stephen Ross is set on Manning and Philbin is not. The media is not afraid to swarm on people who move to South Beach -- just ask LeBron James.

Seattle Seahawks

Since Pete Carroll arrived in Seattle, it's been assumed that at some point he'd make a play for a franchise quarterback. Thus far, the only plays he'd made are trading for Charlie Whitehurst and signing Tarvaris Jackson. Seattle still a "sleeper" for Manning, but landing him would absolutely represent the final piece in Carroll's "master plan."

Pros: The Seahawks need to improve a little at guard, but they've got a lot invested in an offensive line that played well late last year and could keep Manning on his feet. A Manning-less Cardinals team means the Seahawks would absolutely challenge for the division title. There is only Tarvaris Jackson to unseat. The Seahawks have a better defense than a lot of people want to give them credit for, particularly the secondary. Carroll and GM John Schneider are not afraid to be aggressive. Or enthusiastic. So that's a plus.

Cons: The offense weapons are not great. Sidney Rice is the top receiver. Marshawn Lynch just signed a big deal, although he'd theoretically be more effective with Peyton under center. Obviously Wayne/Garcon would be nice additions. Weather and the outdoors of Seattle are not a plus.

Washington Redskins

Peyton's been attached to the Redskins because Daniel Snyder likes to spend money on shiny things with big names. And he's got at doing it, so regardless of whether or not the marriage makes sense, it's entirely possible.

Pros: Straight cash, homey: if Peyton wants to make the most money without worrying about incentives, I gotta think Washington's his spot. Mike Shanahan is desperate, so he'd probably be willing to cede some control to Peyton. This Skins defense would've been much better if they hadn't had to deal with the anemic offense Washington trotted out last year. The running game is fungible, thanks to Shanahan and would help Peyton.

Cons: The Redskins lack offensive weapons, but could bring in Wayne and Garcon if they wanted to keep playing with Peyton. Does Shanahan's system, which involves rolling out quarterbacks, really fit Manning? I say no. The media scene in Washington, with all due respect to my colleagues, can be a bit of a trainwreck. There is tons of coverage of the tiniest stories there. Peyton will have to play his little brother Eli Manning twice a year. He can't possibly want to do that and/or compete with Eli for a division title annually. What happens if Robert Griffin III blows up and Peyton struggles -- will people question the decision not to trade up? That's a serious question.

New York Jets

Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum refused to kill off the rumors about Manning heading to New York and thusly, these rumors live on.

Pros: The Jets are seen as a contender, even if their defense took steps back last year. There are weapons: Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller and Shonn Greene are decent enough. Reports indicate the Jets might be willing to dump Holmes to land Wayne. The offensive line has some legit talent on it; center Nick Mangold particularly stands out. The Jets have gone the big-name veteran route before, trading for Brett Favre. The Super Bowl will be in New York in 2014.

Cons: It's New York, which means the scrutiny on Manning is going to be amplified a billion times more than anywhere else. Manning is not a "spotlight" guy. Peyton would have to share the city with his brother; though that might be OK from a "having enough space" perspective, do you really think that either one of them wants to hear a million questions about each other at every press conference. The Jets locker room was a disaster last year and there's no guarantee (none, says Rex Ryan!) that it'll be better this year. The Jets play the Patriots twice a year. The Jets don't have the greatest setup for weather/stadium when it comes to helping Peyton.

Kansas City Chiefs

This is where we go from "sleeper" status to "darkhorse" candidate; the Chiefs actually make a lot of sense from a personnel and situational perspective, but is it really a fit? I'm not so sure.

Pros: The Chiefs are a bounceback candidate in 2012, thanks to guys like Eric Berry, Tony Moeaki and Jamaal Charles returning from injury. Charles, Moeaki, Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston create a formidable set of offensive weapons. They play the Colts in Arrowhead. Matt Cassel is the primary competition, but he's not a tremendous salary-cap burden in 2012.

Cons: Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel are Patriots guys. Is that considered the dark side? That's serious: could Peyton play for Patriots midwest or whatever you want to call the Chiefs? It really seems like a long shot. Crennel might actually have tampering charges filed against him.

San Francisco 49ers

If any team is "one guy away," it's the 49ers. And that's why you can't count them out. Plus, Peyton Manning replaced Jim Harbaugh in Indy, and Peyton Manning's getting replaced by Andrew Luck, who was coached by ... Jim Harbaugh. Stew on that one for a minute.

Pros: The 49ers are a stacked team, outside of quarterback and wide receiver. Vernon Davis is a freakshow target and this team has room for Wayne/Garcon. Their defense is one of the best in the NFL. They were a Kyle Williams fumble away from making the Super Bowl. They have no quarterback: Alex Smith is going to be a free agent too.

Cons: Harbaugh's gotten behind Smith the whole way and he seems genuinely convinced that Smith can be his guy long term. The 49ers would be throwing a lot of progress away if they went after Manning and he wasn't healthy, so there is a lot of risk here.

Houston Texans

Yeah, we're getting nuts. The Texans are a real long shot, especially with Matt Schaub under center. But Schaub's closing in on the end of his deal

Pros: This offense is loaded obviously. Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, one of the best offensive lines in the league, Owen Daniels, Ben Tate -- a lot of talent here. They get to play the Colts twice a year and this would be the ultimate spite move.

Cons: There's so much risk involved in doing this for the Texans, it's just too hard to fathom. They have T.J. Yates if Manning doesn't pan out, but they definitely thought they could win the Super Bowl had Schaub stayed healthy last year. No cap room.

Denver Broncos

Again, we are deep here people. Don't judge me. You know John Elway wants a "real" quarterback. And there are probably only one or two that could actually take the wind out of Tim Tebow's sails. Peyton is one of them.

Pros: See above; the Broncos want an under-center QB and Peyton would trump Tebowmania. (I think.) They have a talented defense. They play in a weak division.

Cons: The Broncos have an OK offense, with Willis McGahee, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno.

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Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: March 7, 2012 1:32 pm

Where will Peyton Manning play in 2012?

If AZ fans have a chance to root Manning on to come to their team, they better do it. He is going to bring Wayne or Garcon with him, wherever he goes. By doing that he brings a familiar playmaker to the scene. Manning, Fitzgerald, Wayne/Garcon, Wells, Heap (if he can stay healthy), and docuet. That's a nice looking Offense right there. I'd love to see Manning go to the Cardinals and finally bring that team a ring. Warner was a great QB, but Manning is even better and if Warner did what he did in his time there, imagine what Manning could do. Given, Warner also had Boldin to toss the rock to as well, but in all honesty a Wayne or Garcon could do just as well.
Yeah, that's a great strategy...bring in another wide receiver along with overpaying for Manning. That would be complete insanity.

As an Arizona fan, I am rooting hard against Peyton Manning coming to our team. Since I've heard this idea, I've got this image in my head that won't go away. It's Kevin Kolb, in the playoffs, wearing a Seahawks uniform. If the Cardinals get Manning, that makes Kolb a free agent, and he'd be perfect for Seattle. Give the Seahawks a quarterback, and I don't think we have enough to beat them or the 49ers...and that's if Manning is healthy.

Since: Aug 16, 2011
Posted on: March 7, 2012 12:40 pm

Where will Peyton Manning play in 2012?

Jerry Jones has deep pockets, and Tony Romo is coming off the best year of his career in which he lead the Cowboys to.....nothing.  OK, they were on the verge of making the playoffs.....had the won their final game they would have made the playoffs.  But let's face it, that's the best that Romo has to offer.  If Jerry Jones wants to hang a banner in that palace that he built, then he needs to put on his big-boy britches, sign Peyton, and hand Romo a clipboard.

Since: Jun 7, 2010
Posted on: March 7, 2012 12:13 pm

Where will Peyton Manning play in 2012?

Jake Long to protect him on the left side,  Reggie Bush, Kim Kardashian and he'll package Reggie Wayne.  He's going to Miami.

Since: Jun 21, 2007
Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:55 am

Where will Peyton Manning play in 2012?

The team on this list that makes the most sense from a medical standpoint is a northern team (redskins, broncos, KC?).  Peyton's biggest problems (provided his neck is solid) will be arthritis (long term issue which should not start for a few years) and Inflammation of the musculature surrounding the nerves that are healing (short term problem, will hit him immediately).  Hot weather is never good for inflammation, wet weather is not much better.  A northern, cooler climate is much better and could extend his career.  Before anyone laughs this off, look at the career of MLB pitcher Kenny Rogers.  His career was falling fast, but he ended up having two years (one excellent, one very good) in Detroit.  He credited the cooler weather as the main reason he didn't suffer his usual mid-season arm pain.  Peyton has to think about that as well!

Since: Feb 29, 2012
Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:55 am

Where will Peyton Manning play in 2012?

There are clearly a few teams that need a quarterback that can complete their team. It would be wise for Manning to join the Cardinals because of Fitzgerald. As well, Miami is also a stacked team looking for the key position to lift them to the next level. The real question is, do Wayne and or Garcon follow him? If Manning is capable of playing the way he used to, every team without Brady, E. Manning, Rodgers, or Brees is going to make an offer for this guy. Who is to say that he doesn't become a free agent and then come back to the Colts for less money so he can finish his career in Indianapolis? A world of questions surround Peyton Manning as he will most likely become a free agent today. Is he healthy enough to actually play at the same level? Does he want to play in the NFC or AFC? Can he produce numbers in another city with a different style of coaching that he is unused to?

I say good job by Irsay on restructuring his team, but sorry to see Peyton go. This offseason is going to be insane with him on the market. I wish all teams the best in their pursuits of Manning and RG3. Game on!!!

Since: Dec 12, 2011
Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:46 am

Where will Peyton Manning play in 2012?

Why not go after soon to be free agent Alex Smith? You could team him up with his old High School teammate Reggie Bush.

Since: Sep 27, 2008
Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:44 am

Where will Peyton Manning play in 2012?

Peyton to AZ.  At the end of the day it makes the most sense.  He'll be playing with Fitz.. enough said.  But to add a few other reasons...  Fitz again, defense, stadium, Kurt Warner was a god there..... so will be Peyton

Since: Oct 23, 2011
Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:42 am

Where will Peyton Manning play in 2012?

Wow if Miami wins this lottery my beloved Buffalo Bills will be cellar dwellers of the AFC East for the next 4 or 5 years..... Ugggghhhh... though my ability to sell the Miami Dolphin, New England Patriot & New York Jets tickets each year would be enhanced.... just kidding no way I would sell tickets to watch Brady and Manning each year in person..... now Rex Ryan and his clowns I will give those seats away.

Since: Mar 6, 2012
Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:39 am

Where will Peyton Manning play in 2012?


Since: Sep 11, 2009
Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:25 am

Where will Peyton Manning play in 2012?

This is about where Peyton wants to play and what is the perfect fit for him.  It has nothing to do with money.  No shots are: Seattle, Arizona, Jets, Redskins or Browns.  Maybe's but I doubt it: Kansas City or Houston

Agreed.. All of the analysis seem to be focused on which team would best be served by getting Manning, but none seems to want to speculate on where he would want to go. He isn't going to sign with any team that isnt playoff ready with or without him..

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