Well folks, here we go again.
Roughly 3 years after a much-publicized trade into the world of Brett Favre and the cell phone pictures that he carried with him, the New York Jets are rumored to be after one of the most publicized free-agents-to-be in NFL History. None other than Colts QB Peyton Manning.
Now, there is no guarantee that Manning will be released but most tend to believe that with the recent transactions the Colts have made, the direction front office is headed could definitely be the anti-Peyton route. Perhaps none more so than the fact that they hired Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano on Wednesday to be the next coach of the franchise.
With tough decisions to make on upcoming unrestricted free agents Robert Mathis, Reggie Wayne, and Jeff Saturday, it’s no secret the Colts could elect to not pay the $28M bonus Manning is due in March and release the 4-time MVP.
With that in mind, I’ll curiously look at two simple things in the Peyton Manning debate: Pros and Cons. Once identified, I’ll attempt to properly predict the next course of action for the New York Jets in regards to the Peyton Manning sweepstakes.
Leadership: Manning has always demanded more out of his players. Leadership is something the Jets seemed to lack last year, especially on offense. He commands the huddle and the team, and most respond to him positively.
Accuracy: Manning shows more accuracy on tape than his numbers would indicate. 64.9% career accuracy isn’t something to sneeze at but the touch throws deep down the field and sideline throws are strengths of Manning, an area where current Jets QB Mark Sanchez struggles.
The “It” Factor: Whatever it is, Manning has it. Whether it’s come-from-behind victories on the big stage or putting points up on a defensive juggernaut, Manning can do it all. He’s won the big game and has been MVP in the NFL an unprecedented four times, more than any other player. It all counts. He can be the one that wins you the Super Bowl. The jury is out on Mark Sanchez.
The “Wow” Factor: Manning’s career stats are something to behold. I did not include last year because he didn’t play a snap. Manning’s career averages (yearly) are as follows: 64.9% completion rate, 4218 yards, 31 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, and a 94.9 rating. Not bad.
Health: Manning’s health is the biggest concern for any team thinking about buying a ticket in the Peyton Manning Lottery. In a way, every team in it will be gambling, lottery style. You can either hit it big with the pick-up or set your franchise back a couple of years. If Manning goes down to another injury, it’s a better than 50% chance of a career ending type. Is that type of gamble worth it? The Jets will try to decide.
Age: This plays a role with the health concern but Manning will be 36 in March. Usually not a concern for a quarterback of his caliber, but he’s definitely not in his prime anymore.
Mark Sanchez: If you bring Peyton Manning to New York, I would say it’s all but over for the Mark Sanchez era here. Sanchez’s confidence level has lacked and bringing in another quarterback to take over would pretty much pulverize whatever Sanchez had left.
Money: Make no mistake, the Jets have room to pay Peyton Manning. However, I don’t know if having $35M (estimated) tied up at the quarterback position is what they have in mind. They would need to ask Sanchez to take a pay cut and that is where things could get ugly, fast. I don’t think they would want to pay Sanchez $8M to be a backup so they could cut the cord or they could keep him to learn behind Manning. An expensive lesson in my opinion.
Future: Manning most certainly isn’t the future in New York. Sure, he’d sell some jerseys like Favre and probably have the key to the city in no-time. However, he won’t retire into the Hall of Fame as a Jet, he’s not going to last more than 3 years in all likelihood. He’s a just a “temporary fix” at the position for a few years. Is that what the Jets want? They seem to have their young players locked up, are they going to want to go quarterback hunting in a couple of years?
My Opinion? Take a rain-check on Manning unless you see that Manning’s health checks out better than originally forecasted. Then, you have to give it a look. Mike Tannenbaum’s shoes may be worn out after kicking the tires so much this offseason. It’s going to be an interesting summer!
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