Breaking down the mess that Peyton Manning has left in his wake
March 19, 2012 Leave a comment
So Peyton Manning called John Elway this morning and informed him that he has decided to join the Denver Broncos. Now the Broncos and Manning’s representation with put the finishing touches on the contract which the parameters seemed to have been established during the recruiting process. Here’s a breakdown on how it will affect the other teams and players left in the wake:
- Tim Tebow, current Broncos starting QB – Tebow will now be placed on the trading block. Tebow was an exciting player last year but he still needs time to develop into the NFL game. Elway and Fox clearly preferred a more traditional pocket passer and they jumped at the chance to acquire Manning and mitigate whatever backlash from the fan base that would be caused by jettisoning Tebow. Now Tebow will be shopped around to other teams, some who need a QB and even some who don’t. The best play for Tebow would be to go somewhere where he could develop but I could imagine one of the teams desperate to sell tickets, and there is two of them down in Florida where Tebow is heralded as football royalty, might make a big push to get him in and sell tickets.
- San Fransisco 49ers – The 49ers and Alex Smith where playing a cat and mouse game that culminated in the Niners dabbling in the Peyton sweepstakes and Smith flirting with the Dolphins and the Seahawks. You would assume that the Niners would move quickly to bring Smith back in the fold.
- Alex Smith, current 49ers starting QB – Smith and the Niners are clearly the best fits for each other but negotiations turned south for whatever reason and led to the situation that I outlined above. Smith looks to have two choices now – re-sign with the 49ers or essentially punish them by signing with the Dolphins. Of course you could make the argument that he would be punishing himself if he signed with Miami. I think cooler heads will prevail and these two sides will get back together and work things out. You don’t fix what’s not broken and the Niners and Smith were a score away from the Super Bowl last season.
- Tennessee Titans – They were the other runner-up in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. Honestly the collateral damage seems to be limited here. The Titans made it no secret that it was an ownership call to pursue Manning and it didn’t come from the football people. Matt Hasselbeck has always been a pro and he knows that he doesn’t have much time left in the game so he should come in and work hard like he always has. Jake Locker shouldn’t be effected either because he was either going to develop under Hasselbeck or develop under Manning, now it should take less time for him to get in the lineup with Hasselbeck in front of him.
- Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins are in a slightly worse position than they were yesterday. Sure they could try and acquire Tebow but there will be 30 other teams that could be in on him. The Manning signing puts pressure on the Niners to re-sign Smith and let’s face it – if your choices are San Fransisco and Miami who would you choose? The only hope is that the Smith/Niners relationship is damaged beyond repair but it doesn’t seem that bad at this point.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jaguars are a new entry into the QB carousel. Like the Titans in the Manning sweepstakes the football guys would just as well go with what they have, 2nd year QB Blaine Gabbert battling it out with newly signed Chad Henne, but their is a new ownership in Jacksonville and the Jags haven’t been able to sell tickets in years. If it comes down to an ownership call (and as we’ve seen in the past few weeks it could happen) expect Jacksonville to jump into the Tebow derby and try to bring him home.
- Cleveland Browns – The Browns only shot at acquiring a veteran quarterback was if Peyton chose Tennessee. Mike Holmgren would have no doubt tried to re-unite with Matt Hasselbeck but since that won’t happen they will probably sit tight. Unfortunately for them sitting tight probably means reaching for Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill with the #4 pick. They could jump into the Tebow derby but I doubt they will.
- Matt Flynn/Seattle Seahawks – Matt Flynn, the other QB on the free agent market, played his situation as best he could. He identified the two teams, Seattle and Miami, desperate for a QB that Peyton Manning wouldn’t consider. He visited with both of them and made a call on where he felt most comfortable. Now both Flynn and the Seahawks can sit back and watch everything else unfold.