If Manning becomes free agent, expect frenzy
The Peyton Manning-Jim Irsay-Indianapolis Colts saga that’s been playing out over the last few weeks has ignited impassioned debates around the NFL and in the media about what’s the best resolution for all parties involved.
ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski joined Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 620 Friday and explained what he feels will be the end game in this increasingly messy situation unfolding in Indy.
“Time to move on,” Jaworski said. “In respect for Peyton Manning, Jim Irsay, and the Colts organization — it’s time for them to move forward.”
Manning’s an unknown entity, at this point, health-wise. The severity of his neck injury and the nerve damage that he has suffered is no doubt worrisome for any team that may be in pursuit of his services.
But one thing is for certain — Manning is a veteran quarterback and one of the premier talents in the game — so Jaworski believes it would be unfair for him to endure a rebuilding season with a Colts team who seem dead set on moving in a new direction.
The speculation has been fierce and widespread but the notion that a quarterback of Manning’s caliber could be available on the free agent market is astounding.
“If he’s healthy, he’s arguably the best in the business,” Jaworski said. “There will be teams just throwing money at him to come onboard.”
The Cardinals have been rumored for weeks — and still figure to be — one of those teams.
“The scary part is that for the team (that signs Manning), I don’t think they are going to know for a few months — maybe three, maybe four, maybe even going into August — if Peyton Manning is healthy.”
While it would indeed be risky for any team to invest in an aging quarterback with an unprecedented injury, the reward if it panned out would be far greater.
“Wherever he goes, you’re immediately going to get a tremendous locker room presence, a leader, one of the hardest working guys on the field and in the film room that you will ever find,” Jaworski explained. “He is a great teacher, as well as a great player.”
Jaworski seems to echo those sentiments of former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, who said Monday that if Manning were to sign with Arizona, the club should expect a period of adjustment. But he also believes that whoever lands Manning will improvise to make their new quarterback comfortable in a different scheme.
“I would assume that some of the concepts that Peyton is so familiar with will be part of the concepts that whatever team he goes to, they would integrate those into their game planning and their playbook,” Jaworski said.