Where Will Peyton Manning Play Next Season? Some Insights

With the season officially coming to an end last week, the focus has switched from playoff contenders to free agency. Players have worked all season to improve their stock among their competition and now is the time for them to cash in on their stats. One free agent in particular is Peyton Manning. Normally the Colts would dominate the contract talks, but after a minor falling out with the owner and the possible acquisition of quarterback prodigy Andrew Luck, the Colts have forced Manning to seek employment elsewhere. Manning, who spent the 2011-2012 season on the Colts sideline recuperating from a severe neck injury, is for the first time entertaining legitimate offers from other teams. Since he was drafted in 1998 Manning has been the starting QB for the Colts, setting records such as the most regular season wins in a decade (2000s), 115.

The rumors have already begun to surface about possible landing spots for Manning and his talents. It was reported that Peyton had a meeting with the Washington Redskins earlier this week, but fans as well as the Redskins front office feel he may not be the perfect fit. A quarterback at Manning’s age is set in his ways and has his own idea of how an offense should be run. His trademark “audible” offense relies mostly on his ability to read the defenses at the line of scrimmage and then decide on the perfect play. The problem with that is that Mike Shanahan, the Redskins’ head coach, is an offensive minded coach and his own offensive game plan that may interfere with Peyton’s plans. Besides the coaching complications, Washington plays their games outside which can be taxing on a veteran’s body.

Another top choice for Manning is the Arizona Cardinals. They of course play inside a dome which is enticing to Manning after playing 12 years inside one at Indianapolis. Arizona also has Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, but simply the acquisition of Peyton will not make the team a playoff contender. Playoff contention is a big factor in Manning’s decision since he is accustomed to winning.

A team that does have a chance to be a playoff contender after acquiring Manning is the Miami Dolphins. Miami is in the market for a quarterback that will transform their offense. Besides that pivotal position, Miami seems to be ready for a playoff run. Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall and Reggie Bush make up and offense that is just waiting for a worthy quarterback. In addition to the players, the weather is agreeable for a heavy passing game. The only downfall may be the selfishness of Reggie Bush. It is widely known that one of the reasons Bush left the Saints was his need to be an every down back. He may not want to lessen his carries to allow for a more pass oriented offense.

Another team that will allow Manning to walk in and win immediately is the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have finally made their comeback as an organization under new head coach Jim Harbaugh, who made news this season with his adrenaline filled handshake with Lions coach Jim Schwartz. Although they already have a quarterback (Alex Smith), he is younger and lacks the starting experience that Manning brings to the table. It’s debatable that if the 49ers had Peyton’s eyes behind the offensive line during the playoffs that there may have been a different Manning brother in Super Bowl 46.

Contributed by Staff Writer Richard Dicks