This week's edition of "Chain Reactions" is dedicated to the question that will dominate the Washington Redskins offseason and the entire NFL offseason. Should Team X (Redskins) sign Peyton Manning?
Of course, this is all assuming he can actually play again and the Indianapolis Colts release him (only a matter of time). So, for the sake of me having a column this week, let's assume he gets strong enough medical clearance.
The other assumption here which may be even bigger than the health is whether Peyton and Archie deem the Redskins a good enough situation. If you look at the many other teams (Jets, Dolphins, and Cardinals) that are expected to pursue the future Hall of Famer, all have better wide receivers and seem closer to winning than the Redskins.
The other concern for many D.C. Sports fans is if this could be another example of grabbing a star that has too little left in the tank. The Bullets/Wizards have made a history of these signings with Michael Jordan, Bernard King, Moses Malone and, worst of all, Mark Price. Would this be a Deion Sanders deal? Does Peyton have a burgundy suit?
One thing we do know is if Manning were to sign with the Redskins, he would immediately be No. 1 on the depth chart when it comes to moving some product. I bet Peyton likes some clean carpets. Hadeed, take note and. I bet Peyton could sell some Mercedes. How about a Theatre Vision Commercial with college graduate Joe Jacoby! I got a million more, but instead, let's go three and out as a salute to John Beck in this week's edition of "Chain Reactions."
Redskins need a QB
First and foremost, the Redskins need a quarterback. Actually, they need two quarterbacks, sorry John Beck. So with that said, why not pick up Peyton and still grab a quarterback of the future later in the draft?
Hear me out here for a minute. Peyton is 36 years old now, and I'm OK with the win now idea while still not ignoring the future. Even if Peyton gets clearance, it would be smart to have a plan B and a long-term vision in case that neck has issues again (or heck, something else, because we all know Father Time is undefeated in sports). Even the optimist Peyton admitted the other day the future short and long is hard to tell.
How many more years will he play? "Hard to say," Manning said. "Hard to say."
Overall, though Peyton seems to be confident he will in fact be ready to take the field this fall.
"I really feel good. I continue to make progress every day," he said. "Everything that the doctors have told me has been on point, which is encouraging to me. I just had a great day today with rehab, just got back from the facility, and that's what we continue to do. Just keep trying to get better. So far I have. That's the plan from here on out."
It has been pointed out before that Manning is not a guy with a history of taking young quarterbacks under his wing and teaching them. You can look at the failures at back up behind him to argue that, or you could say maybe that is why Bill Polian is out of a job. Whatever the situation is, there a young quarterback would not be ruined to watch this guy up close. I spoke with Colts QB Dan Orlovsky earlier this week and when I asked the benefits of being around the legend.
"When you are around one of the best players at their position in the history of the game it is not going to hurt you."
And it certainly would not hurt the Redskins to have one of the best players at their position and have an heir apparent.
You can't teach an "old dog new tricks," they say, and it is true. I have tried and my dog looks at me like I'm an idiot. So trying to make Manning fit into the Mike Shanahan offense perfectly is probably foolish. Instead, the Shanahans will need to ask the quarterback what he wants in an offense and then get the hell out of the way.
For purely entertainment purposes only, wouldn't be great if Kyle Shanahan tweaked Peyton's footwork and throwing mechanics during OTA's and training camp?
Manning is the ultimate coach on the field. He makes Dan Marino look shy. He will tune up his teammates and let them know where they screwed up, and he will also make them better. He famously works with his wide receivers until the sun goes down -- see Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne (who is a free agent).
There is also the theory that Mike Shanahan can sell Peyton on the John Elway plan, which I thought was supposed to work with Donovan McNabb. Anywyay perhaps with Peyton it would work differently. Peyton is a better all around quarterback and perhaps lesson was learned by the Shanahan's in terms of being flexible with some things too.
Indianapolis Star Columnnist Bob Kravitz, who is close with Peyton, spoke with CSN Washington and brought up an interesting perspective.
Run the ball, play solid defense and win Super Bowls ... at least that's how the Denver Broncos won Super Bowls with Shanahan and John Elway. Also, if all else fails, let your quarterback make plays, and Elway made plenty. The rules were not nearly as passer-friendly as they are today, and the Giants and Patriots are the two lowest-rated teams defensively in Super Bowl history. They also are not exactly ground and pound teams. The Giants were last in the NFL in rushing and Patriots were 20th. In the Giants' case, Ahmad Bradshaw's injury played a role, and they have run better in playoffs, but they are a passing team now.
The one thing you can't help but notice about the Super Bowl teams is they tend to have the best of the best at the quarterback position. If Peyton is healthy he is still one of those guys.
What Would it Cost?
It would be reasonable to think Manning will not make the money he's been accustomed to making whenever he plays in the future. Still, it could become a bidding war if the clean bill of health comes from the doctor's. The Redskins have proven, however, in years past that they usually do not get outbid. They would certainly make it back in jersey sales and overall interest. They would be the epicenter on the future world again, off-season champs!
The problem of course is the more Peyton costs the more cap space you would probably take up and it trickles down to the rest of your roster. So what would that do to the overall strength of a fair from complete Redskins roster? That is what the franchise decision makers will have to figure out if they do go down this road.
There are still plenty of needs on offense, where wide receivers and offensive linemen are still needed. Defensively, they are solid up front, but they need help in the back seven.
"Obviously we want to get better in every area, but we think the front is about as good as it gets. We're excited about that," said Jim Haslett, whose unit went from 31st in total defense in 2010 to 13th in 2011. "We'll be getting [2011 second-round defensive end] Jarvis [Jenkins] back. But we need to get some stability on the back end. ... We're not done rebuilding and we're not done doing the things we want to do on defense. We've got to get some stability on the back end."
The Redskins need to make sure they don't make the mistake the Colts made and let the entire team fall like a house of cards if Manning is unable to get on the field.
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