|Washington will get "aggressive" in chasing Manning. (CBSSports.com Illustration)|
Peyton Manning will officially be a free agent, likely in a few hours, after his release from the Colts on Wednesday. We polled all the CBSSports.com experts on where Peyton will land but there wasn't much interest in the Redskins.
That won't stop Washington from making a run at Manning, though: Mark Maske of The Washington Post reports that the 'Skins will "aggressively" pursue Manning in free agency.
Maske cites sources that say the team is "comfortable with the risks associated with signing Manning," and the "team will pursue him intently."
This isn't shocking at all, really. Clark Judge recently pointed out that Washington has two choices: land Manning or go after Robert Griffin III in the draft. And we all know that Dan Snyder likes to spend money and that Mike Shanahan is infatuated with Manning. (Who isn't?)
But will Manning actually entertain the idea of playing in Washington? Maske also cites a source who says that "he wasn't certain if Manning would consider an offer by the Redskins seriously" because Washington lacks a good offensive line, doesn't have any receivers, is coming off a five-win season and has to play against Eli Manning and the Giants twice a year.
For those who don't think the Eli factor matters: it does. Manning joining the Redskins would create a direct roadblock to the playoffs for his brother. (Or, perhaps more likely, for Peyton.) I don't think it'll keep Peyton from joining any team in the NFC, as Marshall Faulk posited on the NFL Network Wednesday, but it could quite likely keep him from going to the NFC East.
That's not to say Washington is completely eliminated; they're not. But they face more of an uphill battle than most will think in the fight to land Manning.
Don't worry though Redskins fans. According to Maske, Washington's idea is to follow along with Clark's aforementioned plan of attack and target RG3 if they miss out on Manning. Interestingly, Maske also reports that the Redskins signing Manning "would not preclude the addition of a young quarterback" like Griffin or Ryan Tannehill out of Texas A&M.
As we noted in our NFC East preview, it ultimately comes down to the quarterback position for Washington in 2012. This isn't breaking news. But it's also why it's not surprising to see Washington crank things up in their pursuit of the biggest free agent in NFL history.
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