Is performance or pay behind the Colts’ decision to let him go?
Fourteen years is a long time
Peyton Manning has been with the Colts since he was selected by the team as the first over-all pick in the 1998 draft. In the 1999 season — his rookie season — Peyton Manning set five, yes five, NFL records including most touchdown passes in a rookie season.
A Colt for life
Wherever Manning goes next, he will always be linked with the Colts — as Brett Favre will always be remembered as a Packer, regardless of his time spent with the Vikings and the Jets.
Playing for the Colts, Peyton won a record four MVP awards, started in more than 200 consecutive games, had 35 fourth-quarter comebacks, 46 game-winning drives, and threw more than 50,000 passing yards. Not to mention being named MVP in Super Bowl XLI, when he lead the Colts to victory in their first appearance in the championship game in 36 years.
Injuries or dollars?
Manning was off the field for the entire 2011-2012 season as a result of neck injuries and operations — the Colts’ record for the season was the lowest since Manning joined the team, at 2-14. After signing him to a five-year, $90 million contract in July, the team had to cut him this week, or pay him a $28 million bonus.
Given that the Colts have the number one draft pick this year and will most likely take the opportunity to select Andrew Luck from Stanford, the combined salaries of these two players would be too much for the team to support. Signing Luck is estimated to run the team about $23 million over four years — with more than $15 million of that payable in 2012.
(via WSJ’s The Daily Fix)
Where to next?
- the Arizona Cardinals (pro: “no other team in the mix can offer a Fitzgerald-like star to throw to,” con: “no other team in the mix can offer a Fitzgerald-like star to throw to”)
- the Miami Dolphins (pro: “Dolphins gave up the fewest points in the AFC East last season,” con: “ ‘Hey, Peyton, you remember Tom Brady? Yeah, he’s in your division now.’ “)
- the Houston Texans (pro: “an aggressive, attacking defense; a terrific offensive line; a running game paced by Arian Foster, who just signed a contract extension; and a passing game with the dynamic Andre Johnson running routes,” con: “Manning would stay in the Colts’ division, meaning he’d face the circus involved in playing them twice a season”)
- the Seattle Seahawks (pro: “Seattle might throw in Manning’s long-time center, free agent Jeff Saturday, as an added bonus. Marshawn Lynch also would provide Manning the type of dynamic running back that he did not always have in Indianapolis. Seattle’s owner, Paul Allen, probably wouldn’t hesitate to throw a ton of money Manning’s way,” con: “Where are the playmakers at wide receiver?”)
- the Kansas City Chiefs (pro: “Landing Manning would make Kansas City the odds-on favorite in a weak AFC West,” con: “Is there room for Reggie Wayne? We’ll have to wait to see how committed Manning is to bringing his favorite receiver along”)