Appreciating how unprecedented the release of Peyton Manning is

Peyton Manning will be released by the Colts today.  It’s weird just to write it.  Imagine if you had just read that the New England Patriots were going to release Tom Brady.  If you had told someone either of those things this time last year people would have called you crazy.  Now one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time is going to hit the free agent market.  Not because his contract is expiring and he will be too rich for his new team to pay him but because the Indianapolis Colts decided to replace him with Stanford QB Andrew Luck and cut him outright.  In an industry that has been as cut-throat as any in its history no bigger athlete has had his contract terminated by a team than Peyton Manning.

Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay will officially break up today after 14 years

Obviously the question is can he still play?  Judging by how quickly 8 or 9 teams have already jumped up to greet him at the door as he enters free agency I’d say that’s a pretty good sign.  Couple that with the positive medical records over the past few weeks as well as the leaked video of him throwing (leaked by his camp no doubt) and it doesn’t look like Manning is ready to walk in the sunset.  He’ll be supremely motivated as well after what’s gone on in the past few weeks, months, year.  Remember, each team will give him a physical by their own team doctors so if an offer is extended you’d have to assume that the doctors liked what they saw.  Sure he could just retire regardless, he holds a ton of league passing records and he’s won a Super Bowl, but would a Hall of Fame quarterback really want to go out like this?  Cut by a franchise that he turned around and made relevant because he was injured and the team fell apart without them which allowed them to position themselves to draft the next, well, Peyton Manning?

Instead Peyton Manning will enter free agency and play out his career for another team.  I estimate that 15 teams – the Giants, the Eagles, the Rams, the Lions, the Packers, the Falcons, the Panthers, the Saints, the Patriots, the Raiders, the Chargers, the Ravens, the Bengals, the Steelers, and the Colts – will not even do due diligence on Manning due to their current QB situation.  That leaves 17 teams that could look into the situation. Out of the 17 a few might to some due diligence but never fully jump into the pool.  I can see the Bears, Bills, and Broncos fitting into that group.  And while there may be no better fit for Manning to go and be a Super Bowl contender right away than the San Fransisco 49ers, word is that they have an offer out to incumbent QB Alex Smith.  With Manning hitting the market I think it might be wise for Smith to sign that contract soon.

Peyton Manning will don a different uniform in 2012

In the end these are the teams that will definitely be in the running – the Redskins, the Dolphins, the Seahawks, the Cardinals, the Chiefs and the Jets.  You can add a few dark horse teams in there.  Le me throw something out there for you – the Dallas Cowboys.  We all know Jerry Jones loves the attention and how much longer is the Tony Romo experiment really going to go on in Dallas?  Most of the talk is centered around Washington and Miami but keep an eye on Kansas City.  They have a new coach, Romeo Crennel, who won three Super Bowls on Bill Belichick’s staff in New England, a Pro Bowl running back in Jamaal Charles, and a tough defense.  It would be tough for Matt Cassel to lose his job because of an injury but it’s tough for him to complain when the same thing just happened to one of the greatest free agent of all-time.

Peyton Manning is going to be a free agent.  You can put his name on the list along with LeBron James, Alex Rodriguez, Shaquille O’Neal, Reggie White, and Pete Rose as the biggest guys ever to go out on a free agent market.  All those guys had expiring contracts.  Peyton is getting cut.  The turk is coming for Peyton Manning.  Guys like Joe Montana and Brett Favre put on another uniform at the end of their careers but they were traded by their old teams, not outright released.  One thing for sure is that we’re a far cry from where we were last off-season in the NFL.  This time last year a lockout was starting.  One year later Peyton Manning is hitting the free agent market.

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About evonsports
30 year old sports enthusiast and aspiring writer from Boston.

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