Did The Indianapolis Colts Do The Right Thing By Releasing Peyton Manning?
14 years. 11 Pro Bowls. Six AFC Player Of The Year awards. Four MVP trophies. Two AFC Championships. One Super Bowl.
That’s what Peyton Manning gave the Indianapolis Colts.
What did he get in return?
Three neck surgeries and a kick out the door with a wave that says “Thanks for the memories Peyton, we’re through.” Oh yeah, and a ton of cash too.
Did the Colts make the right decision by announcing that Peyton Manning’s key to the franchise would now be in the hands of their 2012 first round pick Andrew Luck? It all depends on how you look at it. If you are comfortable with a first round pick that could either be the next Peyton Manning or the next Ryan Leaf, then it was the right move. Colts owner Jim Irsay obviously feels that he has a better chance rolling the dice with a young gun than holding on to his trusty six shooter which has never steered him wrong but is perhaps on its last legs. Who can blame him? With the $28 million bonus that Manning is owed, it’s hard to justify the cost of the soon-to-be 36-year-old who just might be too injured to be a formidable play caller in the NFL. Especially when you have the #1 pick in the draft and a guy named Luck that many presume to be the next great NFL quarterback. It just wouldn’t make sense financially to tie up over $50 million between the two players. If you keep Manning and he isn’t half of what he was, then you’ll forever regret the decision. Manning could possibly be injured again; is Irsay supposed to just endure another wretched season?
Some will argue that he should.
Cutting Peyton Manning and living with the possibility of watching him lead another team to the Promised Land would be far too poetic for words. It will be hard to see Manning throwing the ball in another jersey. Remember what it was like seeing Patrick Ewing in a Seattle Supersonics jersey? It just didn’t feel right. To make matters worse, what if Luck turns out to be like Alex Smith, JaMarcus Russell, David Carr or Tim Couch? All that money paid to Luck will just go into the trash while another team enjoys a couple great years with Manning under center. Irsay perhaps should be loyal to Manning, trade the #1 pick for a bunch of other picks and look to land the next Aaron Rodgers (1st round, #24), Matt Schaub (3rd round, #90), Drew Brees (2nd round, #32) or Tom Brady (6th round, #199). It’s possible. Consider this: six quarterbacks were selected before Tom Brady in the 2000 draft. Ask yourself who is employing Tee Martin, Spergon Wynn, or Giovanni Carmazzi. Exactly. There are calculated risks when you trade away the #1 pick while trying to find the diamond in the rough. The good thing is that they would have the opportunity to learn as Manning’s understudy. Look at what Brett Favre did for Aaron Rodgers in terms of giving him time to fix his mechanics, learn the system, and step into the role comfortably.
But for now, the future of the Colts is in question. Will they forever be haunted by the ghost of Peyton Manning, or will they find that a little bit of Luck goes a long way?