The Colts aren’t going to cut the 28 million dollar check for Peyton Manning. Sometimes I wish I could do business like an NFL owner. I’ll give you $75,000 for that BMW, but only the first $4,000 is guaranteed. After six months of driving it around, I’m going to bring it back and walk away like nothing happened. I’ll give the Colts the benefit of the doubt and say they actually did intend on paying this contract (for once), but when Peyton missed a full season after multiple neck surgeries, there was no way they were going to bet 28 million Peyton could return to form. Not with Andrew Luck staring them in the face. So, after a Hall of Fame career in Indy, Peyton Manning is stuck with the fate of Joe Montana, pushed aside for youth and left to continue his legacy elsewhere. But where is Manning headed? If recent, positive reports about his arm strength are true, he’ll have plenty of suitors. Here are the other 31 teams in the NFL, listed in reverse order of likelihood to land Manning Face.
31. New York Giants. Peyton’s got a better chance of becoming Eli’s offensive coordinator in a few years than his back-up, though Peyton signing with New York and then beating Eli out for the job would be one of the funniest things I’ve ever witnessed in sports.
30. New England Patriots. Anyone else get the impression that Belichick hates Peyton? I’m not even sure he respects him. I’m also reasonably sure Peyton would get booed in Foxboro.
29. Green Bay Packers. The Packers cut loose Matt Flynn. They have room. But I think they’re going to stick with that Rodgers character. He’s OK. I feel like Green Bay will stumble ass-backwards into another franchise QB at some point, but not this Spring.
28. Carolina Panthers. Unless Cam Newton goes on a tattoo rampage, he’s got the job locked up in Carolina. Carolina must be awfully full of themselves after drafting Newton. In a year or two they could be without a QB and on their way to LA. Who knows? But, for now they won’t even give Peyton a look.
27. San Diego Chargers. Mannings do not play in San Diego. That’s documented. Also, Philip Rivers needs more time to build his polarizing legacy.
26. New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees is pissed, but franchised none the less. Even if the Saints needed a QB, Archie wouldn’t allow this. New Orleans is his town. Archie Manning, Mr. New Orleans, great QB on a bad team. He’s spent decades cultivating that legacy. He’s not about to let Peyton breeze into town and ruin it.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger would like some credit for his good behavior. What’s it been a year, two years since he crashed something or was accused of something? I like Big Ben on the Steelers, it’s a nice reminder they throw all that integrity/family BS out the window when it comes to franchise QBs.
24. Detroit Lions. If Matt Stafford had spent another year figuring out new ways to separate his shoulder from his body, then maybe this could work. It’s a dome! Stafford stayed healthy though, and chucked for 5,000 yards. Peyton’s humor wouldn’t play in Detroit, anyway.
23. Atlanta Falcons. Peyton is going to look strange as hell in whatever uniform he chooses, but is it me, or would he look really odd in a Falcons uni? He’d be like the 45-year old wearing Rickie Fowler golf shoes. Don’t disrespect Matty Ice’s growth this past year, either. That’s what Matty Ice fans will tell you.
22. St. Louis. The Rams aren’t interested in RG3. So they say. This tells me they realize they are terrible and a QB isn’t going to make much difference. Give Bradford a few more years while you try to assemble actual NFL talent.
21. Oakland. If only the Raiders hadn’t gotten anxious and nabbed Carson Palmer. They can’t go after Peyton, otherwise they’d be telling their fans they gave up premium picks for a half season of Palmer and 8-8. Maybe if that old gunslinger Al Davis was still around…
20. Cincinnati. My impression is, the Bengals are dying to be “right” on Andy Dalton. They so badly want to say, look at us, we draft A.J. Green in the 1st round and then pick up a franchise QB, you know, whenever. I still kinda, sorta think they’ll be wrong about Dalton. We’ll see.
19. Chicago. As secure as you can be with Jay Cutler. Which is surprisingly more secure than 1/2 the league.
18. Baltimore. I’d drop Flacco in an instant. I think Ray Lewis would too. But, they don’t have the guts to make this move. The Ravens wouldn’t know what to do with a good QB.
17. Philadelphia. The Eagles are probably too busy scouting undersize D-lineman and unknown safeties to make this move. Did Peyton Manning impress with his workout at the Senior Bowl? No? Well, the Eagles aren’t interested.
16. Houston. There are probably people out there that think a healthy Manning on last year’s Texans’ would have produced a Super Bowl. But I’m betting that Houston’s brass thinks Matt Schaub could have done the same thing. (Unlikely)
15. Cleveland. It’s either going to be Colt McCoy or selling the farm for RG3. We all agree on that, correct? A Peyton press conference where he says he’s taking his talents to Cleveland would be pretty amazing, though.
14. Buffalo. Harvard’s 2nd most famous athlete is signed. Stevie Johnson is coming back. Buffalo probably should be much higher on this list, but they think they’re all set.
13. Dallas. How itchy is that trigger finger, Jerry? The picture of Jones pacing himself into oblivion thinking if he should dump Romo and go for Pey-Pey puts a smile on my face.
12. Tampa Bay. I wouldn’t be in any rush to make a long-term commitment to Josh Freeman, but Tampa Bay doesn’t have the skill set to pull off this move. Greg Schiano? Nice job at Rutgers, but he’s gone by 2014, right?
11. Jacksonville. Mostly because there’s no way Peyton’s going to Jacksonville. The Jags would love him, but that’s like the Pirates pursuing Roy Oswalt. Peyton: Who’s on the phone? Agent: The Jags. Peyton: Hang up.
10. Kansas City. Joe Montana Part-II? Negative.
9. New York Jets. Mark Sanchez is sitting next to me making this same list. He has the Jets at #29. Reality check time, Sanchize. The Jets are on a slippery slope back toward mediocrity. Signing Peyton would be an admittance of failure and a bit of panic move, but gotta keep up with the Brady’s.
8. Denver. Too much drama. Denver is all over the place with their Tebow commitment. He’s starting, they’re looking. I think Elway would love to come out and woo Peyton, but you don’t want to anger the billboard militia.
7. Minnesota. How many years has Minnesota been a QB away? They were before Favre, he took them to the NFC title game, but now Minnesota is back to square one. Thank you, Donovan. If they hadn’t drafted Christian Ponder…
6. Seattle. We’re getting serious, now. Pete Carroll needs a QB. He must be in shock after his days at ‘SC. He had a Heisman pipeline there, but is now on occasion forced to start Charlie Whitehurst. Manning would provide instant stability in a still wide-open division, but I doubt Seattle is high on Peyton’s list.
5. Washington. I imagine when Dan Snyder saw Mort’s tweet he quickly trampled some of his servants and sprinted down to the counting room to see how much money he could throw at Peyton Manning. Does Mike Shanahan have any credibility left? If Snyder hadn’t spent the last dozen years running the team into the ground, Washington could be the front-runner, but Danny boy will have to get out of his own way to pull this off.
4. San Francisco. What about Alex Smith? Thanks for the memories, Chief. Peyton Manning and maybe one WR and you’ve got a very dangerous team. They’d be stupid not to take a hard run. Alex Smith has likely already careered it.
3. Arizona. Athletes love Arizona. Living there. Training there. I’m not entirely sure about playing there, but if Larry Fitzgerald can successfully lure Kevin Kolb, why not Peyton? Those Fitzy fantasy owners from 2010 might get those TDs they were waiting for. How much scrutiny does Peyton want? Not much? Try Arizona.
2. Miami. I think Miami is going to make a full charge for Peyton. What other choice do they have? It pains me to say that Chad Henne and his rocket arm are not going to work out. Dan Marino replacement take 36.
1. Tennessee. Peyton is a Volunteer, after all. You talk about a hero’s welcome. They might change the name of the state to Mannington. Plus, a golden opportunity to shove it right up the Colts’ hind end twice a year. What more do you want? Solid running game? Check. Bring Reggie Wayne along and they’re all set.