ESPN: Colts to release long-time QB Peyton Manning

ESPN’s resident NFL insider Chris Mortensen reports that the Indianapolis Colts will soon release long-time quarterback Peyton Manning. This move, on the heels of multiple neck operations and a pending $28 million roster bonus, will be the first domino to fall in the 2012 NFL offseason.

Manning, drafted by Indianapolis 15 seasons ago, will become a free agent, allowing him to sign with any NFL team. The four-time league MVP and future Hall of Famer missed the entire 2011 season after having his third neck surgery in 19 months, a fusion of two vertebrae.

Follow-up reports slate that Manning is a favorite to land in Miami, taking the Dolphins out of the hunt for an upgrade at quarterback. With heavy speculation placing Stanford’s Andrew Luck in Indianapolis via the upcoming draft, the remaining quarterback options include Green Bay’s Matt Flynn, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III and Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill.

The Cleveland Browns have been linked to each of the three quarterbacks in various forms since the conclusion of the 2011 season.

[Related: Peyton Manning, Bernie Kosar and the Ends of Eras]

(Source: ESPN.com)

  • Jack

    c’mon ‘skins — go get that manning

  • mgbode

    and Flynn to Miami to completely rip the carpet from under the Rams

  • MallaLubba

    Let the speculation fly: ’round about 6:00pm 92.3 The Fan reported (via an Indy sports reporter connection) that the Colts were working very hard to make a deal happen and bring Manning back next year.

  • Harv 21

    yeah, I heard that breathless “we’re now in the running for Luck” 92.3 report too. What’s a scoop that turns out false, a poop?

  • Natedawg86

    yeah right…anyone have vegas offs of him returning to indy?

  • Garry_Owen

    Even if the Colts were to keep Manning, they’d still draft a QB with the #1.  No reason not to do so.  Our only chance at Luck would be if they chose Griffin.  Everybody exhale.     

  • mgbode

    why are we disagreeing today Garry?  my thought is either the Colts go “all-in” with Peyton or go “all-in” with Luck.

    all-in with Peyton – trade Luck for a bunch of high draft picks that you can get in the next 2 drafts (including this one).   stock your team with good veteran stop-gaps as well and give Peyton his best opportunity to win a SB or two before he retires (plan on a 4-5 yr window and hope for the best).

    all-in with Luck – let Peyton go and go young with your team.  only plug in veteran stop-gaps where you have to and try to obtain as many draft picks as possible.  re-sign the key young guys (Garcon) to grow with Luck and target a competitive window in 2 years (rebuilding the OL, etc.)

  • mgbode

    all that said, it would be silly for them to go “all-in” with Peyton knowing that one hit can end his career when they have the “best QB prospect since Peyton” sitting for them there and potentially being their franchise QB for the next 15 years.

  • Garry_Owen

    I saw the other day that the planets are in some sort of crazy allignment, or maybe I’m just feeling ornery and contrary.  Or, you might just be wrong.  For once.  I don’t know.  Think nothing of it. 

    I think the Colts are certainly willing to keep Peyton, but I don’t think that they’re ever going to be “all in” with him again (nor is any other team).  The 4-5 year window is nice, but not if you think you have Peyton’s heir-apparent sitting there for the newly-cheap taking at #1 – particularly if you suspect that Peyton really only has a year or two left, if that. 

    In short, I don’t think being a “keeper” and being “all-in” on Peyton are necessarily one in the same.  I think the Colts are the former, not the latter.   

  • mgbode

    hmmm, I might be wrong.  strange, I never considered that as an option.  really, it sounds a bit unsettling.

  • Garry_Owen

    I once thought I was wrong, but was mistaken. 

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I’m going to say something crazy about the Browns signing Peyton Manning, so I guess this would be the place.  Here’s a thought, and I’m just thinking out loud…

    What would the Browns have to lose by taking a run at Manning?  Even if they draft RG3 or Tannehill, wouldn’t it be better for those guys to sit behind Peyton Manning for a couple years?  Would it be bad for Colt McCoy to do that?  (It might be, not sure when his contract is up).  The Browns have a good young defense, they’re a right tackle away from having a very good offensive line (which I expect the Browns to address in this year’s draft) including arguably the best left tackle in the game to protect his blind side, and the rumor is that any team who signs Manning will also sign Reggie Wayne as well as have a good shot at signing Pierre Garcon.  If you’re Manning, does it appeal to your nature as a competitor to take the challenge of winning the first Superbowl for the Cleveland Browns?

    I think if the Browns really wanted to take a run at Manning, they could easily sell him on Cleveland as his ideal destination.  As is, the Browns are not one draft away from winning the Superbowl.  With Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, and Pierre Garcon plus a good draft, maybe they are?

    I realize the biggest wrench in all of this is that nobody knows if Manning will ever fully recover his arm strength, but I still think it would be a low risk/high reward venture for the Browns.

  • mgbode

    ok, beyond all the obvious ‘other’ things;  Peyton knows he is potentially one bad hit away from retiring at this point.  So, he is not signing up to face Pitt, Baltimore, and yes, even, Cincinatti’s defenses 6 times per year.  

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Boooooo… you and your wet blanket are harshing my buzz.

  • cmm13

    to add to mgbode’s analysis i would say nor does he want to play in the “elements” for half of the season as well.

  • mgbode

    akroyd, d.miller, and now p.shore all on the same day?  WFNY is eclectic.

  • 49ers with their defense and run game. They would probably be Super Bowl favorites. 

  • mgbode

    or KC

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I agree that Manning probably wouldn’t want to come to the Cleve… there’s the tough AFC North, there’s the weather, but I guess I just don’t understand why the front office wouldn’t be in the mix.  What have they got to lose?  I just completely disagree with the idea that you can’t build for the future while going after a pro-bowl QB with a shelf life of 2-3 years.  On the contrary, seems like you could win now AND in the future.  Right?

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Yeah I think that’s Manning’s most likely destination as well.  All he needs to do is step in there and if his arm is full strength, SF becomes the favorites to win the Superbowl.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    If I’m the Browns’ front office, I’m at least calling Peyton and laying our situation out to see if he would be the least bit interested.  What we have to offer is: Best LT in the game, top 5 Center in the game, solid young defense, 3 high draft picks to get offensive weapons with, an an owner with LOTS of money, and the most passionate fan base in the NFL.

    If he says he’s not interested (likely scenario), so be it.  Nothing to lose by trying. 

  • floydrubino

    If Peyton is going to play again cleveland has to go after him. Maybe he would come if we sign Reggie Wayne too. Cleveland fans are weird in thinking we don’t deserve players like this. If we sign Peyton and Reggie Wayne we still should pick RG3 at #4 if he is still there.  If RG3 is gone than we could go so many different directions. Look how bad Indy was without Peyton so Cleveland would instantly become a threat if he signed here. Cleveland needs a franchise qb and there has arguably never been a better one ever than Peyton.

  • mgbode

    we “deserve” him as much as anyone.

    but, why would he come here?

    competitive team?  one of least since ’99.  4 straight double-digit loss seasons.
    offensive talent?  one of worst last year on offense.
    OL?  Left side a plus. Right side a minus.
    WR?  Would need Garcon and Wayne to come with him.
    RB?  probably have to draft if we use up all our cap space on Peyton/Garcon/Wayne

    Defense? it’s okay, but definitely has some holes that need to be filled.
    Cap Room?  we have a bunch, but there are plenty of teams with more.
    Weather?  definitely not a weatherless dome atmosphere.
    Division?  all 3 rivals made playoffs and have good defenses.

    Compare that with KC, Miami, Seattle, etc.   It’s a tough sell.

  • floydrubino

    If you take away the franchise quarterbacks on several teams they have holes as well. Thanks for letting me know that the right side of the o-line is weak. Lol. You state things that are really obvious. Cleveland deserves the best players in the nfl and Peyton would be crazy not to consider Cleveland. Peyton won’t play in the nfc because of his brother. Kansas City and Miami aren’t bringing anything to the table Cleveland can’t offer. If wayne comes and we draft a receiver and lamichael james all of a sudden Cleveland could do some things. Cleveland needs to at least go after premium players like this whether we get them or not. Cleveland is a great place to play your professional career. Cleveland has something special to offer and that is our fan base. Garcon would not have to come with Wayne. So you think Garcon is a great receiver. Wayne and Dallas Clark were doubled every play and Garcon had 70 catches on a team that played from behind every game. He is a good receiver but we will see how good he is when Wayne is gone and he is the man. And we are going to have to draft a running back anyway. You do realize the situation we had last year. Defense is young and improving and could hold their own. Kansas City and Miami have to play in bad weather games and are not a dome team. Pittsburgh and Baltimore are getting old and they are going to stink in a year or two. Most likely he will go to Kansas City because Matt Flynn will go to miami but we are just as good as Kansas City.