Peyton Manning to be released, let the free agency frenzy begin
In the least surprising news of the offseason, Chris Mortensen reported that the Colts would release longtime franchise quarterback Peyton Manning. Mortensen says Peyton was informed of the decision Monday night. Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay will officially announce the move in a joint press conference Wednesday.
The decision makes plenty of sense: Peyton is turning 36 years old and recovering from numerous neck surgeries. He is not the future of the franchise and the team plans to rebuild with Andrew Luck. Why hang onto Peyton and create a quarterback controversy when you can move forward with Luck and save salary cap space?
This is not a fairy tale ending; not everyone can walk away like Jerome Bettis. Players get old, they get hurt, and circumstances change. Cutting Peyton does not diminish all that he did for Indy and how great he was for the Colts. Rather, the move gives him an opportunity to begin a second career elsewhere. And that’s where the madness begins.
Manning is not expected to make a decision soon. Instead, he’s planning to continue rehabbing to build his stock. According to NFL Network’s Jason LaCanfora, the Cardinals, Dolphins, Jets, Redskins and Seahawks will all be interested in signing Manning. The Dolphins believe they have a good chance of signing him. The Jets reportedly have mixed feelings on the matter because they don’t want to alienate Mark Sanchez. Seattle may be willing to go after both Peyton and Reggie Wayne in a package deal.
It’s not often a four-time MVP and Super Bowl winning quarterback becomes available as a free agent (OK, it’s never happened). Expect the Peyton Manning media coverage to hit absurd levels as Peyton considers teams, signs, practices, and eventually plays with his new franchise.