This is a response to my latest post, “The Decision: Peyton Manning Edition” found here. This response comes from an old friend of mine, Alex Hoffman, who grew up on the same street as me. He’s been a die-hard Indianapolis Colts fan for as long as I can remember, so he offers a bit more insight into what the Colts should do with Manning and the rest of the team.
As a true Colts fan, and as someone who knows the NFL and sports in general, I feel the best thing is to let Peyton Manning go. It’s mostly about the money. The Colts are paying someone as great as he is $28 million this upcoming season and guaranteeing the remaining money and years for a QB that might never play at his level again.
That’s a risk that a mid-market team can’t afford.
We have the golden opportunity to draft the next “Elway or Manning” so why ruin or disrupt that? Manning’s rookie season the Colts went 3-13 and the next year they won the division and went 13-3. Any true fan will take 30 great years of QB play in exchange for one bad year.
From an unbiased point of view, I think that Manning is the greatest player of our generation because of everything he means and “meant” to the Colts. Look at 2008 when Tom Brady was out with an injury… the Patriots went 11-5 and barely missed the playoffs. That’s not a knock on Brady or the Pats, but they can win without him in there. This season with Manning out, Indy finished 2-14.
I’m a Colts fan through and through but the more I take a step back and look at it from a business and fan standpoint, Manning needs to leave to improve Indianapolis. This should be done as quickly and seamlessly as possible, with Peyton knowing that he will always have a chance to work with the franchise after he retires.
The other big key is what the Colts do on defense and offense. Do they resign Reggie Wayne or Robert Mathis and other key veterans?
They need to re-sign Reggie, who has already stated he wants to stay there. He’s still a top 7-10 WR in the NFL and will greatly help Luck grow and mature while helping the team’s young wide receivers. I also think Indy will re-work Dwight Freeney’s contract by adding more years (1 year left) and lowering the cap hit for this 2012 season.
It’s clearly transition time, the Colts put everything on the table with Manning and I’m happy they did, but they lost this hand. It will take a year or two rebuild those chips we had for the past decade but I’m confident that we can get there.
In summary, I feel that Indy will release manning due to: a) his health (he can’t throw completely without pain) and b) his money owed. They also have major decisions to make on Reggie Wayne, Jeff Saturday, and Robert Mathis as unrestricted free agents. Other important questions include what to do with MLB Gary Brackett who has a large deal but is hurt lately, and also SS Melvin Bullett who is frequently hurt as well.
Both Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay are upset with how the media is taking everything and blowing it up, but it will get solved. I trust both to do what’s best for Manning and the Colts franchise, but it is the end of an era. In sports these days, we rarely see a Derek Jeter or Chipper Jones that will remain with their team and be the face of their franchise for their whole career.
It’s nice to see that my opinion on Manning wasn’t completely out of left field, especially seeing a similar perspective from a Colts fan. It’s also cool to take a deeper look at what the team needs to do to regain the glory days of the past decades. It might take a while but I agree with Alex, and think the Colts will eventually return to prominence…just as long as they don’t beat the Broncos in the playoffs every year!