You don't cut a healthy Peyton Manning.
Video released by ESPN of Peyton Manning yesterday indicates that Manning's arm is in fact recovering.
Jim Irsay's decision just got that much more difficult.
It's one thing to sell fans on the idea that you have to cut Manning because he isn't healthy. That was certainly the indication two months ago. Late in the year all arrows pointed toward Irsay keeping both Manning and taking Andrew Luck. In mid-January, Irsay's mood seemed to shift away from Manning, as rumors mounted of an impending retirement.
Now with the release of this video, Irsay is put in a difficult position. There is still question about whether the Colts can afford to exercise Peyton Manning's 28 million option that would keep him with the team. They certainly can't afford to exercise the option and then trade him, the resulting cap bomb would destroy the team.
Obviously, there has to be more evidence of Manning's health than a couple of throws on a flip cam. Still, Irsay pledged a healthy Manning would remain a Colt in December, and now the ball is back in his court.
Irsay has a history of emotional flip flops on core players. When the Colts went to release Marvin Harrison after the 2008 season, Irsay had an 11th hour change of heart, and tried to persuade Harrison to take a reduced deal to stay. Harrison declined, but then never found work in the league again. It's possible that whatever Irsay was planning on doing, he can still change his mind. This is strictly his decision, and he's keeping the rest of his staff insulated from the process.
I've said for months, the only 'football mistake' would be for the Colts to keep Manning AND draft Luck with the #1 pick. Without the firepower the Colts would pick up from a blockbuster trade for the top pick, the Colts won't be contention in 2012. If you aren't going to be in contention, it makes little sense to keep Manning. Besides, the Colts would still be in no-man's land in one year with an untradeable Manning and Andrew Luck who is past due to play.
Personally, I would never part ways with a healthy Peyton Manning. Never. He looks better than I beleived possible. I freely admit that I didn't expect him to look so good (admiditly on one throw) this early in the game. The video is stunning, to be honest. Manning has done so much for the franchise, that he's earned the right write his own ending. Beyond that, not everything is about winning. If it can be verified that he's close, then fine. Keep him and trade the pick. Give him a realistic shot at winning. Otherwise, why bother?
If the Colts are determined to keep Luck, however, I would rather see them cut Manning than keep both. Keeping both will result in years of irrelevancy. The Colts 2012 roster needs players. Keeping Manning at $28 million AND paying Luck leaves no cap room to bring back returning players, much less improve the team. At least with a blockbuster deal for the top pick, the Colts can instantly upgrade the blue chip talent level and actually field a competitive team.
Short of that, they'll have to make the unkindest cut of all: releasing a healthy Peyton Manning.
Wondering what PeytonForPresident thinks of this - ? Maybe that glass was a little more than half full after all...
@pierrezombie pierrezombie, we missed you on the Check it to Pancakes Open Thread. Because our world did end, despite the half full glass...
I don't think this will save him. I'm happy he's progressing and hopefully will play again, but I think the wheels are already in motion. And as much as it will hurt, I think it's the right call.
This week I expect to read a headline stating the Colts cutting Peyton Manning which will be proceeded by tears of MISERY!
Nate posts more positive outlook on Peyton Manning; cue people accusing him of being too-homerific. not to be confused with Homeric. At least they're different people than the ones accusing you of being no better than Kravitz, i think.
I understand the conundrum but I am glad that we have at least one more year of Manning playing football. Life is a-beautiful again!
Luck's value will remain high even if he doesn't see the field in 2012 (with Manning as starter). Trading Luck after the 2012 season could still yield a very strong pull for the Colts if they chose to open an "insurance policy" for this coming season by paying Manning and drafting Luck too.
@BMS His value drops after the draft because teams lose a year of utility under his cheap contract. It's not an efficient way to go. It's not the worst strategy, but it's not a good one.
Don't underestimate Peyton's loyalty to Indy and to football in general. Also, he is a serious creature of habit. Indy is the best place for him. He may make other teams contenders, he'll also make the Colts contenders. His chances of winning a Superbowl elsewhere may be slightly better, but only slightly. Every team's odds of winning it all are slim. Being a favorite means little.
Agree with Nate that you don't cut him. If we can get equitable value in return for Luck, trade the pick. Where I disagree with Nate is that I think if the staff is in love with Luck, and we can't pass on him, having both isn't the end of the world. While not ideal, it buys us time. If Manning turns out to be diminished, he restructures and hangs on for retirement. If he's good to go, we trade Luck for less than we would get on draft day, but still a king's ransom. This whole theory is predicated on Manning being willing to restructure, and I think he will. He won't get that same kind of money anywhere else.
I also think its entirely possible that we cut Manning expecting to re-sign him with Manning fully on board with the process. Why woudn't he be if he isn't fully healthy? He understands the cap and the business.
@Beerman The issue is I just don't think trading the pick is something Irsay sees as an option. He didn't want to cut Manning, but he saw that the idea of keeping might not be a possibility. Of course, that has likely changed, but still, there was a way he could do the once unthinkable and cut Manning without too much scorn given his health.
Luck is different. The ability to acquire what many see as the best QB prospect in years is squarely his choice alone. If he passes on Luck, and Manning doesn't win another Super Bowl, and Luck goes on to be the next Aaron Rodgers, that's on Irsay completely.
I would hate to be in Irsay's shoes. Actually, I wouldn't since I would trade the pick and not think twice, but I know in my heart that there is a possible huge negative implication to passing on Luck.
Wait a second... if he's healthy then you're saying La Canfora and Schefter were wrong when they said Peyton would be cut right after the SuperBowl? Or when they said he'd be cut before the Combine? Or when Kravitz said he had a noodle arm?
My faith in the Fourth Estate has been shattered. (or should that be The Three Stooges?)
In video he looks pretty good. BUT, it is a few throws without any indication of how far apart they were and not knowing how much editing occurred. These throws could be when he was well rested an selected to be the best of the best. Lets see a live, unedited workout before judging.
Nate, to me the infomation of the last couple of days, the video and Bob Kravitz revelations, serves to substantiate the reporting of Mortensen the last several weeks, in addition to lending credence to the credibility of Bill Polian, who Bob K stated was a "liar" concerning the late December Manning throwing sessions. Evidenty, the "Manning camp" was leakig the truth. Comments?
@southdodger I commented on that in the article. If this is accurate (and it's only 3 throws, edited), then yes, Manning is way further along than I would have thought possible. This doesn't 'prove' anything, but it certainly suggests that's the case.
I covered this.
too little too late, manning. wish you well on your new team.
but yes, you can cut a healthy manning
I don't want to see Manning go. Speaking as a fan, it's a painful thought to think of seeing him on any other team. I know he's going to be healthy and Manning in my heart. I don't care what the cost is, we have to keep him.
Jeez. He's getting cut. His chances of playing 3 seasons are low. Luck's chances of taking us to the tournament many timea over the next 15 years is high.
Irsay is completely out of options. He only has one option and that is to keep Peyton. He was never going to win the PR battle even if this video was leaked. Now that it has though, he just lost any excuse to cut him.
And it is now that I know all of this would work out--that is, if Polian was still in charge.
I am going to go cry...
So true. Polian likes RGIII and Griffin has said over and over that he would gladly sit behind Peyton waiting his turn. Plus, trading the Luck pick to get Griffin and additional picks would have setup the team long term as well. IMO still this whole thing was an overreaction by Irsay to one bad season due to injury.
@BMS @mattshedd And how, exactly, do you plan to trade the Luck pick and manage to get both RG3 and additional picks? Whatever you get in trade for the No. 1 pick, you're going to have to give virtually all of it to St. Louis to move back up to No. 2 and draft RG3.
It's fairly simple: If you want a top QB prospect, sit at No. 1 and take him there. If you want to trade for a bevy of picks to stock other positions, then do so. But don't expect to get both -- it ain't gonna happen.
If we trade out of #1 for picks, but still want RG3, we'll have to trade back up to the #2 pick. That'll likely cost us almost as much as we gained from trading out of #1 in the first place. So we're going to have to choose -- boatload of picks, or top-flight QB prospect (either Luck or RG3). We won't be able to get both.
@ManiacallySteve @Neven @BMS @mattshedd The reason you need to move up to number two is that that is where other teams trading up will target. It is not just the Rams taking him at two but another team trading up there to take him. Also I dont think Clev is all THAT happy with McCoy just because they say all the right things. With new coaches we have no idea how TB feels about Freeman. Washington and Miami are "all in" on grabbing a glitter QB so they are already leaking that they will pay big to draft RGIII. You cant trade up to 5 and assume SKins and Dolphins will stay put. If you want RGIII, you trade with Rams. Anything less is a huge risk of missing out on your target.
@ManiacallySteve @Neven @BMS @mattshedd not suggesting they will do it but if they have an equal or higher grade on RGIII, they could bring him in for less than half of Staffords cost/cap hit, reset the clock on his second contract to 5 years away and trade Bradford for a similar if not quite as rich bounty in picks. Risky but not necessarily an indefensible course of action.
@Neven @BMS @mattshedd why would st. louis draft RG3? don't they like stafford? or are you saying they're sure to trade that pick (this makes more sense)? on the other hand, st. louis isn't really a threat to actually pick a qb, are they? that devalues their slot in the rg3 sweeps. i'd have to think the vikes at 3 are happy with ponder. cleveland has gone through so many qbs lately, and seem happy with mccoy. tampa seems happy with freeman. the first real threat is washington at 6, so at worst you want to trade up to the 5 spot, which is gonna be a lot cheaper than the #2 overall. i don't know much about the draft and will happily defer to someone who knows it better, but i don't think trading with the rams to get the #2 makes much sense if you're targeting a QB. having said all that, i think your main point stands; we get peyton+ a ton of picks including a stopgap backup at qb in the later rounds, or we get luck at #1.
Couldn't agree more!!!!!!!
(Is there any friggin' way that Manning agrees to redo his contract for an incentive laden one, if the Colts promise to trade the #1 pick?)
@DougEngland Yes there is a way. Colts cut him and then he can sign a completely new contract. My understanding, admittedly only as good as the articles available to all of us, is that the terms of his contract, meshed with the terms of the CBA do NOT allow such a restructure prior to paying him the bonus and letting the calendar flip on the league year.
Nobody earns the right to write their own ending in this world in any aspect of life. Take what you get and make the best of it. Peyton should make the best of it somewhere else.
@SouthernColt I'd argue that Peyton staying is by far the safest and best option for both Manning and the Colts. With a healthy Manning, next year's Colts should be as good as the team that won the division in 2011. Trade the #1 pick for a bunch of high picks over the next few years and they can easily get back to Super Bowl contenders. Ask Carson Palmer about jumping teams to play for a contender.
For the Colts, Manning is a known quantity if he is healthy, and no one has ever been better. If Andrew Luck turns out as good as some people are saying, he might be close to Peyton, but there have been lots of QBs who were supposed to be surefire superstars but fell short. Look at the other QBs taken with the #1 pick over the last 30 years, and there are very few whose careers would have made it worthwhile dumping a healthy Peyton Manning to make room for them. If Peyton is healthy, I think the Colts would be very foolish to let him go.
@ECB Absolutely. I agree that Peyton is the safest choice in that you know what you're getting. As Nate pointed out many fans would be happier watching Manning play than Luck regardless of the outcome and that's 100% true. If I implied that the outcome was losing in the short-term I didn't express myself properly.
Keeping Manning (even if we didn't improve the team by trading Luck and kept the same talent-poor roster) would still in my mind almost guarantee 10+ win seasons. Anybody who thinks Manning is playing 4 more years though is probably engaging in wishful thinking. We're probably looking at 2 seasons and one very rusty one to start. Even with the handful of picks we'd get for Luck the team would still be on the very outside of contenders for a Super Bowl. The division is not going to be a cake walk. I could go on endlessly about how overrated the Texans are and how they're likely to not improve drastically over the next three years but they're still probably going to win the division. We'd be a wildcard hopeful for 2 years and then he'd retire.
We'd be getting one decent draft this season for getting quality players and then he'd leave us back at the bottom to start over. If both Luck and RG3 are up for grabs, both of their values are going to slightly decline. Hence, keeping Manning is postponing the inevitable and accomplishes only one thing: placating fans that are loyal to 18 over the Colts. Losing Manning is going to be painful now or 2 years from now. If we do it now we can get Luck. Sure, he could be a bust. If he is than we're getting more number 1 picks. Even if he's everything he's cracked up to be the team will struggle for a season or two and we're still going to be drafting at the top. Yes, the draft is always going to be a crapshoot. If you're forced to gamble though you should do everything to increase your odds of winning. Luck is the best bet for the long term. Sure, he may only give us a 10% chance of re-emerging as a dominant team for the next decade. Manning does nothing but hamper those odds. He's the safer choice in the short-term but not the better one.
@SouthernColt "Nobody earns the right to write their own ending"? How depressing is that? Nobody?
@SouthernColt Does loyalty have no value to you?
@mattshedd Loyalty is for families and foxholes. This isn't loyalty. It's attachment or nostalgia. Both very emotional appeals but hardly a good basis for decision making.
@SouthernColt @mattshedd Here's the thing, though. The assumption that Luck solves the QB problem for a decade is a MASSIVE leap. If he turns out to be good AND he stays healthy AND the Colts work out a good deal with him, he'll be on the team for 10 years.
I think the biggest fallacy of the 'pro-Manning' camp is that he'll actually be Peyton Manning for 4 years.
IF he was healthy (and I don't think he is), and you KNEW he was going to be Manning for four more years, I don't think this is even a debate.
I personally think those two IFs are just too much.
You don't cut a healthy Peyton Manning. One video isn't enough proof that a healthy Peyton Manning still exists.
@18to88 @mattshedd That wasn't my implication. I think anybody who follows the Colts and has the least bit of respect for Manning realizes that even if the rest of the roster remains static he probably is good for a 10 win season. Keeping him only increases the odds we become a perennial loser AFTER he retires in two seasons.
I don't think demand would have been as poor though, you're right.
This only applies to those who think keeping Manning is the better strategic move.
The 2-14 Colts weren't interesting in part because Manning wasn't playing. Had Peyton been out there, demand wouldn't have been so poor, even if the team struggled. They won't be a 'perennial loser' with Manning, even if the team isn't great.
@18to88 @SouthernColt @mattshedd You can't always wrap it up in neat labeled boxes like that. For the most part I agree, but saying that sports isn't about winning isn't completely true. What sports means to people is as varied as the people who care whether they be fans, coaches, players, or owners.
These things can't be extricated from each other either. If it's about money, surely it's harder to convince fans to spend thousands of dollars on season tickets to watch a perennial loser. Would we even be having this conversation and would anybody care if Peyton Manning was not a winner? No. Did a lot of season ticket holders find watching the 2-14 Colts entertaining? Hardly, if the sale of tickets dropping from 2 to 3 times face to 20 bucks below face value was any indication.
Indiana might be a football state now but the Colts hardly have a monopoly on Hoosier fandom as evidenced by the plethora of Bears and Titans fans in the north and south respectively. The grasp is tenuous at best. Considering the team may have moved if the Manning era hadn't arrived I don't think once again we should be neglecting winning as part of the recipe. There's no guarantee that Manning fans are going to stick around after 2 seasons when he retires anyhow, especially if we're in the same or worse state compared to this past season. Placating a subset of fans for short-sighted gains or possibly just maintaining the status quo isn't a financial plan I'd bet on. If the Polian era has taught us anything it might be that when it comes to sports, the consumer doesn't know what in his best interest.
@SouthernColt @mattshedd They are a fine basis for making decisions if your desired outcome isn't necessarily winning, but putting an entertaining product on the field that people will enjoy watching.
What the hard liners seem to forget is that sports is about entertainment and money, not winning. You can argue that keeping Manning isn't the optimal winning strategy. Fine. However, you can also argue that making people happy is more important. There are a lot of fans that will be happier watching Manning than watching Luck, regardless of the outcome of the game.
That is a preference and not something that can be judged. It's an aesthetic.
@mattshedd @SouthernColt What about loyalty to the franchise -- i.e. doing what's best for the team? A confluence of factors make this the right time to move on. I'm excited to see Manning making progress -- i want to see him play again -- but it's gonna take more than 15 seconds of shaky cam footage to prove he's healthy enough to justify sinking that much money/cap space into. And even if he is, it might not be the right choice for a rebuilding team.