Peyton Manning’s divorce from the Indianapolis Colts became official on Wednesday.
The joint press conference between Manning and pro tweeter Jim Irsay announcing the surefire Hall of Famer's departure was every bit as awkward and uncomfortable as you would expect it to be, but it also did something very important: it brought us one step closer to seeing Manning in his new uniform.
We don’t know how one of the all-time greats will play for his new team, but we do know that he will have a new team to play for no matter what.
The question now is who that team will be.
Cardinals: 19% ($100 wins $250)
Dolphins: 16.5% ($100 wins $300)
Redskins: 13% ($100 wins $400)
Jets: 9.5% ($100 wins $600)
Chiefs: 7.5% ($100 wins $800)
Retire: 6% ($100 wins $1,000)
Seahawks: 6% ($100 wins $1,000)
Texans: 4% ($100 wins $1,500)
49ers: 3% ($100 wins $2,000)
Broncos: 3% ($100 wins $2,000)
Titans: 1.5% ($100 wins $4,000)
Other Team: 11% ($100 wins $500)
These odds are more or less what you would expect them be. The teams listed above all fall into two distinct categories: 1.) those with young quarterbacks who haven’t proven themselves and 2.) those with no quarterbacks worth starting.
The Dolphins, Redskins, Seahawks and Titans all fall into the second group. Miami would seem to be the smartest play for Manning out of this bunch given the offensive weapons they will be able to surround him with, the weather that won’t be a problem for his brittle old guy bones, and the Joe Philbin is a well-known and respected offensive mind. That being said, Seahawks are positioning themselves to be a force in their awful division, and the combination of solid quarterbacking and some smart draft picks could be what puts them over the edge.
The Redskins are dead set on getting a legitimate quarterback during this offseason, but you have to wonder if the Donovan McNabb situation has made Washington wary of storied veterans who get discarded by their old teams for nothing. And the Titans, well, they’re on the list, but there is a reason they’re at 1.5 percent. They need a quarterback, but preferably a young one who isn’t coming off more neck surgeries than anyone knew about up until a month ago.
Meanwhile, the teams from the first group (Arizona, New York, Kansas City, Houston, San Francisco and Denver) all have someone who can play the quarterback spot, but none of those guys evoke enough confidence from their teams to not at least consider bringing in Manning.
The Texans are obviously the best possible team that Manning could wind up with given all of the offensive and defensive weapons they’d surround him with, but you have to wonder whether this team would really move to replace the oft-injured Matt Schaub with a guy who was cut for nothing by his old squad because of injuries. The Texans are Super Bowl contenders with or without Manning, though, either way. Similarly, the Jets have their sights on getting to Super Bowl for the first time in the Rex Ryan era. The question with New York is whether Manning would really want to insert himself into that lawless, dysfunctional locker room -- that probably feels even more lawless and dysfunctional from the outside than it actually is thanks to the constant glare of the N.Y. media -- when there are better options on the table.
The Cardinals, Chiefs, Niners and Broncos all have workable parts at the helm already, and it’s hard to imagine that any of them with the exception of the Cardinals are really mulling bringing in Manning beyond the standard “of course we’ll take a look at him” mantra. Arizona is interesting because the team does have a lot of things that Manning would want (see all the attractive things about Miami), but the Cardinals' offensive line wouldn’t be great at protecting a guy who wasn’t especially mobile before he had 20 million neck surgeries over the last year. That coupled with a weak defense which doesn’t seem ready for primetime means that Arizona isn’t as Super Bowl-bound as Manning would probably want his next destination to be.
Then again, the pros have the Cardinals as the most likely destination for him to land and at least one player has tweeted his support for the move, so maybe that take on it is completely wrong.
Of course, it’s also worth nothing that the above odds insinuate that everyone wants Manning. If the Redskins miraculously find a way to outmaneuver the Cleveland Browns for Robert Griffin III or Miami finds a way to nab Matt Flynn, it stands to reason that they would take those two options over an aging, risky old guy who got cut from his last team in favor of an unproven youngster.
Regardless of where Manning ends up, this should be an interesting few months.
(Kudos to The Big Lead for the find)