Recently my colleague Hank Koebler and debated the Peyton Manning contract situation on NFL Redzone Report. Hank felt strongly about the fact that the Indianapolis Colts drafted receivers that fit what the Colts do and get great value out of these picks. I disagreed and felt that Manning makes almost any receiver appear far better than his actual talent. This got me to thinking about what the Colts offered Manning and why he rejected it.
Indianapolis has put the complete weight of its franchise on the shoulders of Peyton Manning. The past few years Manning hasn't had any running game to speak of to work with. The Colts never replaced Marvin Harrison with anyone close to his talent. The defense has been atrocious, and Jim Caldwell isn't really the coach, Peyton Manning is. So, Peyton is basically the Head Coach, Quarterback, running game, and has the team burden of having to be perfect so they can outscore the opposing offense after what his defense gives up.
The way the Colts' front office is handling the day to day activities is single handily tarnishing, Manning's legacy. Reports are that Jim Irsay has offered Manning more money than Tom Brady's 4 year $72 million contract. Some are expecting it to become a 5 or 6 year deal. A lot of people were surprised that Manning would turn down that much money. I for one am not. Indy hasn't done anything to protect Manning or make his job easier. When John Elway got towards the end of his career, the Broncos had Terrell Davis to ease his load. What have the Colts done as a good will gesture for Peyton? A Swiss cheese line, that makes him release the ball quicker than any other QB in the league? Manning was one of the least sacked QB’s, but that wasn’t because he was well protected, he just adapted his game around the teams' weaknesses.
How about a balanced attack? The team has known all along that Joseph Addai is made of glass yet they spend a 1st round pick on Donald Brown to split the carries. Donald Brown was the Todd Marnovich of running backs. Marnovich was supposed to be raised to be the future of the NFL at QB. Reports said that the guy never ate a hamburger. Brown reportedly never drank a soda. Impressive! He also will never have a 1,000 yard rush season. Maybe Brown should go somewhere and have a coke and a smile, because the lack of soda didn't help him as a player. When they discussed the future of the receiver position, they decided using a 1st round pick on Anthony Gonzalez was the best solution. Other receivers taken after their pick were, Sidney Rice, Steve Smith, James Jones, Mike Sims-Walker, Steve Breaston, and Legedu Naanee. How about the fact that they've never found the playmaker to step in for Bob Sanders? Sanders was the one to make or break the Colts defense. Sanders only played 9 games over the last 3 years, yet they still don't have his replacement...and now they don't have him either...
So, yeah, basically Peyton Manning is the Indianapolis Colts. In a discussion with another sports enthusiast, I was asked the question, if Peyton wasn't on the Colts in 2010, would they be drafting first overall. My answer was yes! We took it even further. If the Colts, a playoff team, would be worse than the Panthers, how good would the Panthers have been with Peyton! Wouldn’t the Panthers have been a playoff team if they had Manning? Look at the rosters, look at the coaches. With Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson behind him and Steve Smith, David Gettis, and Brandon Lafell out wide, I don't think it's silly to imagine a 2010 playoffs with Carolina having been in it. Carolina had a better total defense, pass defense, and rush defense than Indy. They also had the 13th ranked rushing offense and Indy was 29th. The only major category Indy was better in was passing yards. With Peyton Manning being the QB in Carolina, that would have been flipped as well.
I don't blame Manning for getting every penny he can. This is his likely last contract as a NFL player. Indy should just count their blessings that he doesn't leave for greener pastures. Think about all of the teams that he could go to and they would be the hands on favorite to win the Super Bowl next year if he was their QB. Could you imagine Manning in a New York Jets uniform? Peyton and his brother running the city of New York facing Tom Brady twice a year! What about the group of receivers he would have and that defense to give him the ball back more than he could have ever imagined. What about the Cincinnati Bengals, can you picture what he would do with those young talented receivers? Marvin Lewis could just focus on that defense that he's been building up, because after all you don't coach Peyton Manning, you just watch.
I've just laid out a case of Manning taking the worst team in the NFL to the playoffs without changing any other personnel. If one man can completely change a team and he's the face of your franchise, then you have no choice but to pay him. As a matter of fact, don't even give him a contract. Just give him 24 hours, 365 days a year’s full access to any bank in the greater Indy area. Let him come and go as he pleases, take what he wants. The fans also have to do their part too. They should have a a city wide ordinance that all citizens of Indianapolis, NO, strike that; all citizens of Indiana have to give full access to their monies. If Peyton walks down the street and passes you, he should retain the right to reach in your pocket and take any money, change, lint, etc out of it. You would just smile and say thank you Mr. Manning. If your kid has an ice cream cone and Peyton wants it, he should be able to take it, no questions asked. When Peyton isn't on the field you should breathe for him, so he can rest for the games.
The Colts basically need to pay this guy whatever he wants. They shouldn’t take it to the media, they shouldn’t complain, they should just pray that he comes back to their sorry excuse for a roster and doesn't go to the Jacksonville Jaguars or Tennessee Titans and beat them twice a year for the next 4 or 5 years.
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Scott Engel on Sirius XM Howard 101 - Tonight!
The King of Fantasy Sports is making a special appearance on the King of All Media's Sirius XM channel on Friday, February 25. Scott Engel, Managing Director of RotoExperts.com and member of the inaugural Fantasy Sports Writer's Association's Hall of Fame, will appear as a special guest co-host on the "Scott Ferrall Show" from 8 to 12 pm ET. Tune into Howard 101 on Sirius or XM Radio as Scott Engel joins Ferrell's crew for an unforgettable night of fast-paced, frenetic sports talk!
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Jayson Braddock appears on Sports Radio 790 AM in Houston, TX, every Thursday morning at 11:19 am CST as the football insider on the Dylan Gwinn show. He's a graduate of the Sports Management World Wide Football GM & Scouting Course and has been mentored by former NFL player / executive John Wooten and Sporting News.com NFL Draft Expert Russ Lande. His work is mostly appreciated by die-hard fans interested in every little detail about their team and not just watered down mainstream talk. - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports7910.com. You may email Jayson directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ JaysonBraddock
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