An Exercise In Caution: Peyton Manning


Don’t read too much into this post. This is just one man’s humble opinion, and nothing more.

I am an avid reader of the Yahoo Sports blogs and especially Shutdown Corner and in a post from two days ago, MJD reported that Peyton Manning may have a potential sutior with the Miami Dolphins. He cites a report from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:

"Manning sits atop the Dolphins’ quarterback wish list this offseason, and they will aggressively pursue him if he’s a free agent and if he’s cleared medically, two people with direct knowledge of Miami’s plans said in the past week."

Most people would start salivating at the thought of #18 in a Dolphins uniform, lining up under center in 2012. I won’t lie, the thought does get me a little tingly inside. However, while I understand their interest in the future Hall-of-Famer, the Dolphins need to exercise caution when looking into him.

While it is not official, most experts expect Jim Irsay and the Indianapolis Colts to release Manning sometime this offseason. He is coming off a surgery that could end his career and is owed $28 million next season. The Colts have the number one pick and Irsay has already come out and said that they are going to select Andrew Luck. They are in the process of hiring a new head coach who will bring an all new staff with him. The general manager was fired. Basically, it is the end of the “Peyton Manning era” and the beginning of the “Andrew Luck era”. It makes no sense logically and finanically to keep Manning and have him play lame duck to Luck.

So by most accounts, Manning will be gone. The question becomes: is this the end of his career? There is talk that Manning could retire (even Rob Lowe thinks so), but I don’t see it. Manning has been a fighter from day one and as long as he gets medical clearence, Manning will be on the field in 2012. He does not want his career to end on an injury. Not to mention that he has said himself that he is not retiring. So the question in my mind becomes, where will he end up?

I’m not sure Miami is an ideal location for him. We all know Manning moves about as fast as an elephant. He is a pocket quarterback by definition and that has worked for him in Indianapolis all these years because he has always had a solid, if not spectacular, offensive line to protect him and give him time to throw. Just to give you some perspective into how great that line has been, in his career, Manning has been sacked a total of 231 times. By contrast, in David Carr’s career, he was sacked 266 times. I’m am aware that that is an unfair statistic because Manning obviously has better decision-making skills than Carr, but my point is Carr started five seasons in the NFL while Manning has been a starter since 1998.

Miami’s offensive line is obviously nowhere near what Indianapolis has had during Manning’s career. Miami NEEDS a semi-mobile quaterback, somebody like Matt Moore who can get out the pocket on a consistant basis. Manning didn’t do that when he was healthy, and we do not know how his mobility will be affected by this neck injury. One big hit on Manning could easily end his season or even career and I don’t have faith in this line to protect him constantly.

Manning is also going to be 36 years old for the start of next season. The Dolphins need to find their next franchise quarterback this offseason, not another stopgap player. While Miami is definitely a better team than their record indicated this season, I still don’t think they are a win-next-year type franchise right now. They need to look long-term and find a player than can be under center for the next ten years or so. Go out and get Matt Flynn or trade up and get RGIII.

I do not deny that Peyton Manning was hands-down one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. He is a study in consistant and accuracy. But he should not be a Miami Dolphin. Manning has been a Colt for life and players like that rarely succeed in a new enviroment. Joe Montana and Brett Favre just did not look good in their new uniforms. I know Peyton Manning is the sexy name, but please do your research. I would honestly rather see him end up in New York than I would in Miami.

Let the bashing begin. Would you like to have Peyton Manning in Miami in 2012?

Twitter- @notquiterosey