The next week of the American sports news cycle is likely to be dominated by Peyton Manning. Several people have outlined their predictions on what happens to him once the Colts release him. The most common prediction on the internet seems to be him heading to Miami. Here’s a post on where I think he will and should end up when it’s all said and done!
I think Peyton Manning should and will go to the New York Jets.
Here’s why –
a) The Jets have managed to win 11, 13 and 8 games respectively in their last three seasons with below average NFL quarterbacking. Mark Sanchez’s salary cap number for 2012 is over 14 million dollars. As long as Peyton Manning can throw the football over 15 yards, he will be an upgrade over Sanchez. The Jets and Manning will look at the overall talent and coaching level on the team to believe that two years of a healthy Peyton will get the team in to the playoffs.
b) The Jets need to make a splash now. The other team from the city they represent won two Superbowls in five years while beating the Jets both years. While the Jets have been very consistent and have not had a losing season since 2007, their championship drought and the outspoken public persona of their coach have resulted in them being portrayed as the lovable losers of New York. The current management and coaching staff risk losing their jobs with another trophy-free season or two. Would they really like to have Sanchez hold the keys to their future or would they rather trust one of the greatest the NFL has seen?
c) The Jets just hired Tony Sparano to coach and run the offense. Tony Sparano is a veteran offensive line coach in-charge of a experienced and talented offensive line (two first round picks, a second round pick) that is trying to progress back to the mean after an injury and failure filled year. It is hard to think of another team that can promise the quality of protection to Manning that the Jets can with their set-up.
d) Peyton Manning does not enjoy playing his brother on a regular basis in real live NFL games. By playing for the Jets, he can ensure that he does not face his brother in a live regular season game till 2015! And does being in the same media market as Eli really bother him? All his life Manning’s enjoyed the big stage and I do not imagine this would faze him. If anything, he would like to end his career with a bang on a big stage with a huge media market than in the relative obscurity of Arizona or Kansas City.
e) Mike Tannenbaum (GM of the Jets) has been extremely discreet about past quarterback acquisitions. No one in the media predicted Jets’ marriages with Kellen Clemens, Brett Favre or Mark Sanchez. Swooping in on Peyton would be just the kind of thing I expect Tannenbaum to be able to do in conjunction with Rex Ryan.
f) Mark Sanchez is still very young and sitting on the sidelines for a year or two watching Peyton in close quarters is not going to hurt him. He has also shown himself to be a vocal and worthy leader who is also very conscious of his brand. Sanchez will win a million brownie points from a fawning football media for willing to be Peyton’s understudy. It will be a classic win-win with opportunities even for Sanchez to step in as the league’s best backup every now and then.
g) Reggie Wayne, Joseph Addai and (possibly) Jeff Saturday are all likely to be looking for work this season and next. Bringing them in to the Jets with some creative cap maneuvering (which Tannenbaum is renowned for) will allow Peyton to play and lead with some very familiar friends.
h) Rex Ryan is a proven defensive mastermind and having Peyton on his offense would allow Rex to focus even more on the area of the game he loves more. This in itself would be reason enough for the Jets to pursue Manning.
i) Tom Moore (Peyton’s long time QB coach) was with the Jets last season and is waiting to hear from them. I strongly suspect Tannenbaum is waiting until Manning is signed lest he give away any clues or signs that the Jets are in the Peyton sweepstakes. Adding Tom Moore, Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne to Santonio Holmes, Shonn Greene and Dustin Keller will go along way in alleviating concerns about the Jets offense in 2012.
So, there you go! That’s my prediction. Let’s wait and watch Peyton Manning get swooped up by the Jets as soon as he is released by the Colts. For those who thought the East Coast and New York City were already over covered in the media, you may want to shut down the internet for a while! Move over Lin-sanity, Hello Manning-hattan!