While NFL teams continue to pick apart the free agent list, teams like the Denver Broncos, Tennessee Titans, and now the San Francisco 49′ers are all waiting on Peyton Manning. Word now is that Manning will make his decision sometime Monday or Tuesday. The winners in this derby? The Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins. They were spared the agony of having to wait.
While the other three teams wait on Manning, the Cardinals have moved on with Kevin Kolb and the Dolphins are working on Matt Flynn this afternoon. While neither QB is a guaranteed success for either team and surely not as high-profile as a Manning, they are cheaper and neither are coming off four neck surgeries. They have questions of their own but consider just how much Manning is going to hurt the team he signs with.
On “Twitter”yesterday Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel brought up a great point that Manning is worth 90 million to the team that signs him because he will easily bring in far more to the community. That is true and I agree with that. In three or four years however, that all changes. Manning has three to four years left, tops and then he is gone and with him goes that revenue from the community. What will still be hanging around is the salary structure that implemented to land Manning. Depending on how creative a team can get, the money paid to Manning will hinder teams over that period to land free agents and retain some of their own.
It’s not all gloom and doom. Teams like the Broncos can afford to front end the deal and pay a vast majority out in year one eating into the cap system this year where they have a ton of money left over. Still, what happens if Manning doesn’t take them to the Super Bowl? What if San Diego wins the division? See while the Broncos await Manning, some of the defensive free agents are gone that they may have targeted. Offensively they will likely add a couple of Manning’s former teammates as well.
The truth is Manning will guarantee the team nothing but will be a windfall for the owner. In Miami, Manning would have put fans back in the seats and money back into the team that would have reduced any red figure numbers, but that money doesn’t go back into the salary cap for next year and if the Dolphins didn’t win it with Manning the fans wouldn’t be coming back next season either.
Like Flynn and the lack of experience, Kolb and his lack of leadership, Manning has his question marks as well. Fortunately, for the Dolphins, they can move on and in the long run, four years from now, hopefully they will have a QB in place to continue the team moving to a successful future rather than going through the rigors once again of finding a QB for the future.