By Tyler Coppock
When we last saw Peyton Manning throw a pass that mattered, he was still arguably the smartest, most efficient quarterback in the league. When we last saw Manning play, he was still arguably the best quarterback to ever play in the National Football League. Now, after one season away from the game, Manning’s uncertain future is the talk of the NFL offseason. But why?
Have’t we been through this game before. You know, NFL star gets injured and misses an entire season. Everyone debates wether that person can still play at a high level and, of course, they do.
We did it with Tom Brady. Brady suffered a torn ACL and some pundits suggested they trade Brady and move forward with QB Matt Cassel. That will be the last time this blog ever puts Brady and Cassel’s name in the same paragraph.
Remember when Brian Urlacher broke a bone in is wrist and missed all of the 2009 season? At that point Urlacher had come off nasty contract negotiations and wasn’t playing at his once all-world level. Well, since then, Urlacher has basically cemented his place in Canton, OH.
So now me get to Manning. I think we call agree by now that there is no way in Colts Owner Jim Irsay actually signs a check for $28 million on March 8. No. Way. That’s simply irresonsible. No player in the NFL deserves that money, especially not a player who has had three neck surgeries in a year.
But are you seriously telling your fan base you would rather move forward with Pac-Ten sensation Andrew Luck. By all accounts Luck is a once-in-a-generation QB. The John Elway of this decade. Thanks, but no thanks. Paging Ryan Leaf, paging Ryan Leaf.
Here’s the thing, I doubt Manning really wants to leave a place where he is royalty. I don’t believe for a second that Mannning wouldn’t be willing to negotiate a modified contract to stay in Indy. It’s the only place he has known since he was 21-years old. Manning doesn’t want to start over with Pete Carroll in Seattle. He doesn’t want to go to Washington and end of being another casualty of Dan Snyder’s never-ending checkbook.
Manning can, and should stay. Irsay needs to do something smart, not difficult. Travel down to Tobacco Rd. in North Carolina where Manning has been training at Duke University. Have a personal physical with an independent doctor of your choosing. If Manning is ready, then talk dollar and sense. If he’s not, shake his hand and say good luck.
Manning claims he will be ready to go, and, if you’re smart, you should believe him. Let Luck sit behind him for a year, maybe two. A healthy Manning gives you a better chance to win than Luck.
You play to win the game. For now, at the right price, Manning is the man for that job. Let Luck be the future, but Manning is the present, not the past.