Peyton Manning, according to ESPN will not be making any more visits. If this is correct, he will not be visiting the Miami Dolphins training facility, meeting face to face with Jeff Ireland and owner Stephen Ross or finally talking with HC Joe Philbin. While it’s speculated that the Dolphins will still be able to make a pitch to Manning, if he can’t or won’t do a face to face, it’s over and the Dolphins need to realize that and move on.
There is no shame in losing out on something that you would like to get. The pursuit and loss of Jeff Fisher was a blessing given the surrounding scandal of his DC selection Gregg Williams. The pursuit and loss of Jim Harbaugh last season wasn’t a matter of losing Harbaugh as much as it was the way it was approached. So losing Manning really isn’t a big issue or a black-eye when you consider the financial hand-cuffs that would be placed on your team.
The Dolphins are likely better off given the financial imbalance of Manning’s likely contract but more importantly they can or should at least begin to approach the start of free agency tomorrow with more conviction.
While losing out on Manning is not a big deal, the fact that he lives in Miami and did not meet with team officials should be cause for Stephen Ross to do some major internal assessments to find out why. Considering that Manning lives in Miami during the off-season and is only an hour’s drive from the team facility should say something about the internal structure of the team starting with Ross if the appearance of dysfunction is on the surface of players like Manning.
If the Dolphins never really made a major push to get Manning there or showed a high level of interest in the QB, then that is a different story. If Manning simply viewed Arizona and Denver as more realistic places to get back to the Super Bowl, then that too is understandable. For Ross however, he still needs to look internally to see if those were the reasons he failed to at least secure a face to face.
On the outside all we can do is speculate and there will be a bevy of reporters both local and national who will tell you that the Miami front office is the reason for Manning not talking with the team, but the reality could be far different so while it’s easy to get upset and start pointing fingers or believing everything you read, there is always the possibility and most of the time more realistic reason behind the scenes that we will never know. Either way, Ross needs to make sure that Manning’s non-visit was for Manning reasons and not because of things that Ross can control.
If of course the ESPN report is correct.