As the Indianapolis Colts continue to rebuild their organization there is increased speculation that quarterback Peyton Manning will be released. Manning is due a substantial signing bonus in early March (rumored to be approximately $28 million dollars) and many insiders believe that the Colts will move on from the future Hall of Famer and start over with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck. Once Manning is released the speculation continues that the New York Jets will be the likely landing spot for the star quarterback.
While this story seems to make sense on paper, especially after the Jets took a chance on Brett Favre, there are several issues that should prevent Peyton from playing with Gang Green.
Cap space- Peyton Manning is currently one of the highest paid players in the NFL and will command a significant contract if he hits the free agent market. The New York Jets are reportedly $5-7 million dollars under the cap and would have to come up with some creative accounting (restructuring contracts and cutting players) in order to come up with the space required to sign Manning. Does that really make sense to do for a soon to be 36 year old quarterback coming off of major neck surgery?
Not one player away-In order for the Jets to return to their championship contender status the team is going to have to upgrade the talent base at several positions. Gang Green needs help at safety, linebacker, right tackle, and wide receiver, in addition to adding depth at other positions. Bringing in Peyton Manning will prevent the Jets from upgrading their roster, as his price tag will eat up valuable cap space. Lets face it Gang Green is not one player away from a championship, even if that player is Peyton.
Ground and pound- Throughout his entire professional career Peyton Manning has been the focal point of his offense, one that is primarily built around an explosive passing game. The Jets offensive philosophy is almost the exact opposite as it is built around a power running game. So with that being said Gang Green would either have to change their philosophies or Manning would have to accept a lesser role. Either way I do not think it makes sense for a quarterback that will only play for another year or two. Note: I understand that Peyton’s former offensive coordinator Tom Moore is a consultant for the Jets. While there is a notion that Moore could be hired as a passing coordinator, I still do not think it would be worth restructuring an entire offense for a player that will not be with the team long term.
Injury factor- One of the most important factors in this entire deal is the health of Peyton Manning. The NFL has becoming a passing league, which means that defenses have been forced to step up their pressure on the quarterback. Can Manning’s body endure the rigors of a physical 16-game season? It is not like this is a minor injury that Peyton is trying to return from.
It is no secret that the Jets need help at the quarterback position, but based on the reasons listed above I do not think that Peyton Manning is the answer. Manning’s age, health, and price tag are all red flags in my eyes.