After multiple neck surgeries that kept Peyton Manning out for the entire 2011-2012 season, the Colts took quite the hit finishing the season 2-14. As we’ve all seen, the Colts have secured the number one pick for the 2012 draft and it looks like they will take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. The Colts have a the unfortunate problem of having two good options. They could either draft Luck and keep Manning, so that Luck can have a season under Peyton’s wing. The other option would be to draft Luck and then trade or release Manning.
As of right now, Colts owner Jim Irsay seems to be leaning towards getting rid of Manning. This leaves many intriguing options for Peyton as well as the teams who will be pursuing him. Unfortunately for the Colts, Manning’s trade value has significantly decreased due to his age, 35, and his neck injury which has no timetable for a recovery. This may leave the Colts with one option, to cut Peyton Manning.
The three best fits for Manning’s services are the New York Jets, the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers.
The case for the Jets is that they have one of the best defenses in the NFL as well as a group of offensive playmakers who can’t reach their potential with Mark Sanchez playing quarterback. The Jets have tried an experiment like this before a few years ago when they picked up Brett Favre from the Packers. While they didn’t make the playoffs that season, the Jets are a much more polished football team than they were in 2008.
The Seahawks shocked the NFL by making the playoffs last season, and then upset the New Orleans Saints in the first round. This past season, they finished 7-9, without a quarterback for most of the season and they did look very good in the last five games of the season. With the addition of Manning, they’re offensive weapons a la Marshawn Lynch, Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Zach Miller will be fully utilized. The Seahawks have a very underrated defense and could give the Niners a run for their money in the NFC West.
Finally, while the 49ers had a remarkable season even with Alex Smith playing quarterback, the addition of Manning puts them over the top and most likely into the Super Bowl. The Niners defense is arguably the best in the NFL and they have unbelievable offensive weapons like Frank Gore and Vernon Davis. Manning makes them a Super Bowl team every year he suits up for them.