|Manning and Wayne could end up playing together again. (Getty Images)|
It's presumed that by March 13, when NFL free agency opens, that Peyton Manning will no longer be a member of the Colts. Reggie Wayne, our ninth-ranked free-agent wideout, will be available. We've previously floated the idea that Wayne and Manning could team up again in a new location.
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And according to Peter King of Sports Illustrated, that's an idea that interests several teams potentially in the market for the legendary quarterback.
King cites an NFL source who says that Manning "would love to see it happen," and reports that "at least two potential suitor teams would seriously consider" making a run at Wayne in order to "lure" Manning if/when he becomes a free agent.
The potential suitors are exactly who'd you expect (in order that King lists them): the Dolphins, Jets, Seahawks, Redskins, Cardinals and Chiefs. (The Chiefs, by the by, are coming on strong as a darkhorse candidate to upgrade at the quarterback position.)
Miami makes a lot of sense, as they have a good offensive line, decent running game, and adding Wayne and Manning to Brandon Marshall and Davonne Bess would make for offensive fireworks in South Beach, something owner Stephen Ross has said he wants.
The Jets appear to be a longer shot, but they've been down the veteran-quarterback road before, as the first post-Packers team to land Brett Favre. King believes they'd even be willing to cut Santonio Holmes and take his cap hit, if it meant landing Wayne to secure Manning.
The Seahawks and Cardinals are in a reactionary mode against the 49ers after a successful year, and Rod Graves and Ken Whisenhunt wouldn't rule out the possibility of going after Manning when speaking at the combine. Wayne would quickly be the best receiver in Seattle, while in Arizona he'd probably post monster numbers while teams focused on Larry Fitzgerald.
Washington makes sense as a destination for Manning because of Dan Snyder's penchant for acquiring big-name talent. And the Redskins could use a top-end wide receiver as well. But Mike Shanahan's system is terrible for Manning, and he'd have to be willing to change it to suit a less-mobile quarterback. Additionally, if Washington can procure Robert Griffin III, even if it costs a reported four draft picks, they might actually have more success right away.
And then there's KC, who might have to deal with tampering charges before they can even consider Manning as a potential free-agent acquisition. KC's got the hardest row to hoe in terms of landing Manning or RG3, but there are some nice pieces in place there and, as Romeo Crennel (unwisely) said, they'd be "crazy not to consider" at least trying to get him.
Of course, all of this speculation is null and void if Manning can't prove to teams that he's healthy by the time he starts to work out with free-agent suitors. But if he shows that he can play, anyone who wants to acquire him would be wise to first obtain Manning's favorite target of the past decade.
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