Possibly the greatest quarterback of this generation will hit the free-agent market next week. Though he is a slightly-tainted version of his old self, coming off four neck procedures, Peyton Manning is still a highly touted and well-respected commodity in the National Football League.
After sustaining a season-ending injury before last season even began, Manning’s future has been riddled with as much uncertainty as the American economy. With a $28 million contract extension on the line, the Colts’ ownership decided to cut ties with their beloved hero and began a new era with the stud Stanford slinger, Andrew Luck.
Dream with me for a second.
Envision a majestic looking Manning barking out an audible on a crisp Seattle afternoon at CenturyLink Field. Imagine that white number 18 on the front of a jersey contrasted by deep-Seattle blue. Replace the horseshoe with a shimmering hawk encasing his brilliant football mind.
Sure it might be a long shot, sure Seattle isn’t necessarily the marquee team or market people might associate with a marquee name like Manning, but when it comes to the Seahawks, I dare to dream big. And I assure you, I’m not just blowing smoke.
During the past few weeks, the Peyton to Seattle idea has generated significant buzz within NFL media circles. ESPN’s John Clayton, aka ‘the professor,’ recently tweeted that he considers the Seahawks and Redskins to be the current front-runners on the Manning sweepstakes.
Other outlets like the National Football Post have speculated on the Manning to Seattle possibility saying, “Based on the buzz around the league, the Seahawks could be the early front-runner for Peyton Manning, assuming he is released. Pete Carroll needs a quarterback, and is believed to have a strong interest in at least exploring Manning.”
The Manning buzz is certainly understandable when you consider the obvious need at the position, the team’s wealth, the venue, and the formidable young core the team already has in place.
First, consider who owns the Seattle Seahawks.
Perhaps the name Paul Allen rings a bell? Not only is Allen the richest owner in the NFL, he is also heavily engaged in team decisions and has expressed a strong desire for his team to succeed. Just recently, upon the news of Marshawn Lynch’s new contract, Allen promptly tweeted with boyish glee, “Beastmode will be back!”
Another noteworthy point is that Carroll is the type of coach Manning could develop a strong marriage with.
Carroll is a rare breed in the NFL. Rather than asserting dominance over players, he listens and understands them. Wherever he goes, Manning will demand a say in the offense as he did in Indianapolis.
Despite popular belief, Manning prefers anonymity. Even though he’s become a marketing icon and the NFL’s poster boy, he prefers smaller, more structured markets.
Brock Huard, ex-teammate, and former Seahawk, thinks the fit in Seattle would be preferable to more hectic markets of New York, Denver and Dallas.
Lastly and most importantly, Manning will want to play for a winner.
Before you scoff at the idea of winner and Seattle in the same sentence, look at the roster Carroll and John Schneider have constructed. The team already has a top-ranked defense in place, and with a developing young core of offensive linemen and receivers, the Seahawks is a good quarterback away from contention, and league-supremacy. Even at 80 percent health, Manning is the good quarterback the Seahawks are looking for.
Now that we know Manning’s tenure with the Colts is finished, the rat race will begin next week with the start of free agency. However, with cash and confidentiality to offer, Seattle, the darkest of dark horses, could end up winning big in the Manning sweepstakes.