Washington likely isn't a player in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes as they've reached a deal to acquire the St. Louis Rams' second overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. What did they get for moving back 4 spots?
In a pre-draft blockbuster trade, the St. Louis Rams have agreed in principle to send the second overall pick in this year's draft to the Washington Redskins for three first-round draft picks and a second-round pick, according to a source in Cleveland familiar with the terms of the deal.
What do you think the Colts could have done with Peyton Manning, three first round picks and a second round pick? One more win and we'd likely know.
Considering what we know now, was Polian fired because he wanted to keep Manning and trade the pick? Or more because Irsay blames him for not anticipating the cap situation? Some of both?
@pierrezombie Well, I don't think we'll ever know the true reason. But, since it is fun to speculate - i don't think it had anything to do with whether Bill wanted to either keep or release Peyton. I think it had more to do with the accumulation of many faults that couldn't be tolerated any longer given the outcome of the past season. I think the treatment of staff was one thing, but I still think that Chris Polian was ultimately Bill's undoing. It's interesting to me that Chris is still not employed, at least to my knowledge. He's not a GM somewhere. He's not a Director of Player Personnel. He's not a scout for a team. Meanwhile, his college friend, Telesco, was interviewed several places this year, and ultimately was rewarded by the Colts with the promotion to VP of football operations (still don't know what that means). So, Bill got his son made GM, but I think now we would see that other teams won't even touch him - that says something about capability. Meanwhile, the guy that came through the ranks with him, Telesco, is a bonafide GM candidate elsewhere and was ultimately rewarded. Chris was a bad move. He didn't make the team better. Bill is responsible for that, along with Irsay. But at least Irsay could make things right and get rid of Chris. Bill went along on that ride - they are a package family deal. That's my take. Didn't hurt that the front office made a really bad contract with Peyton that put the team in this position. They knew he wasn't healthy, hence the structure of the 1 year/4 year extension type contract - but did it anyway. The timing of the roster bonus for the 4 year part seemed absolutely abysmal - forced the move to happen when it did. Again, Irsay signed off on it, but he does pay his FO to get these things right. Eventually, accountability was had with the Polians.
@EconolineVan I'm with you on speculating -- what else is there to do, watch the NBA? Too soon.
I think that's a good point about Chris Polian. While there's no way to know how Irsay felt about him specifically, or which parts of the Polian legacy (good and bad) can be fairly attributed to him, I haven't seen anything that contradicts the idea the Bill really wanted Chris as his successor, if for no other reason than to allow himself to retire gradually. It also seems reasonable, in that case, that Irsay balked at having the future of his team dictated to him. Given all that, Bill probably refused to cut Chris out or retake the reigns, so they were fired as a package. (Keeping/promoting Telesco seems to indicate that Irsay was satisfied with some parts of the Polian FO.)
I don't read too much into the fact that Chris doesn't have another job yet. As with coaches, sometimes it takes a year or two to find another spot. I wouldn't be surprised for him to start in the middle of a different franchise's FO and work his way up, or even for Bill and Chris to take over another team next offseason. Opinions on Chris seem wildly extreme, but a lot of that was covered on 18to88 and Coltzilla during Kravitz's 'toxic byproduct of nepotism' shenanigans.
However, I totally disagree about Manning's contract last summer being bad. At the time, virtually no one with any credibility criticized it; most praised Manning for not taking Irsay up on his statements about making him the highest paid player in the league.
We'll probably never know exactly what the Colts' FO knew internally about Manning's health at that point in time, but you seem to be repeating a common misconception that the one year opt-out clause was put there by the team. It wasn't -- that was 100% a gift from Manning to Irsay, to prevent the Colts from being stuck with a five year deal if he couldn't finish out the contract at his normal quality. As several good writers have pointed out, the timing was there because Manning had all the leverage then; he wanted to protect the team, but also to protect himself from being traded to a crappy team to end his career. Irsay signed off on it because he had no choice, other than to reject the opt-out and give Manning a standard five year deal.
At least, that's my understanding.
@EconolineVan Yes, I think you make a good point about the possibility of Polian's style becoming dated. My only problem with it is that it could easily dovetail into what I see as the misconception that BP lost his touch in his later years with the Colts, especially with regards to drafting. As Nate has gone to great lengths demonstrating, the Colts' lack of impact players from the draft the last few years had almost everything to do with getting stuck consistently at the bottom of the draft order, due to their unprecedented run of successful seasons. (And, so, almost nothing to do with a change in BP's ability to spot talent and build a roster.)
But that's just my opinion on it; others obviously disagree.
Related to the small and fast scheme you mentioned. I think it was always a byproduct of the choice to surround Manning with premium talent on offense, and to spend most of the cap allocated to the defensive side of the ball on a couple key players (Freeney, Brackett, Sander, etc.) Everyone else were basically economical, exchangeable pieces, but only of necessity. If they could have afforded all that loot on fielding a league-best offense AND had a bunch of big and fast players on defense, I'm sure they'd have done it happily! What amazes me is how long they got by with a defensive roster full of UDFA's and undersized, late round guys.
@pierrezombie PZ - I've got one other thought on the rationale for the Polians departure, and your comment on Bill being a HOF'er reminded me of it. All great civilizations (Greece, Rome, Britain, etc.) eventually came to an end. We see this in the workplace as well as companies ascend and eventually descend. The cultures that escape that typically are very adept at both anticipating change and adapting to the new scenario.
I once read a funny comment that said Al Davis knew a ton about football - but unfortunately, his knowledge was contained to the football played in the 70s and 80s. I believe the premise was that he didn't adapt to the changes in pro football and continued to hold to older ideologies that were less effective in the present times. I worry about that for myself in business, and honestly, I worried about that for the Colts the past few years. You'd hear a lot of things about the Colts "doing what the Colts do." At some point, schemes need to change and players to fit those change. Small and fast (and economical fits to the Colts scheme) might be a concept that has come and gone as collision-based injuries rise with physical speed and strength increases (just as one example). I personally never felt the Colts FO would admit they might want to change. Along with my speculation theme for this thread, I speculate part of the decision to part with the Polians is that their approach might have passed several years ago, and PM just blinded everyone to this with his ability to transcend overall team capability. Maybe JI looked at that and thought this regime, while legendary, couldn't make the strategic shift to a new brand of football that might be necessary in the NFL in the post 2010 era. Bill IS 70+ years old. That doesn't mean he can't be a GM, but I bet his desire to change isn't very high...
Combine that with all the other stuff, and there you go. Ciao.
@EconolineVan Regarding Bill Polian vs Chris, I think it's important to remember that Bill is a HoF GM, with success on three different teams both before and after the free agency era. That's something a lot of people seem to take for granted, especially after being stuck at the bottom of the draft for longer than any other franchise in history. (And after Kravitz and BBS worked their magic on the average fan's opinion of him.) So expecting Chris, or anyone, to live up to that level of accomplishment is a problem in and of itself.
But obviously Irsay didn't think he would be, or anything close to it, and was more comfortable handing the team to a relative unknown. That says a lot about what was probably getting to be a pretty dysfunctional FO.
With Manning's contract, I agree that it seems fishy in some ways. But with the lockout, the limitations on communication, the compressed FA signing -- it was a crazy time.
I've seen the suggestion that Manning knew his neck was in worse shape than he let on and that he mislead the team going into negotiations, but I'm not buying it. As you said, more likely that he overestimated his ability to get past it then, just like he did in December. (And perhaps, as Nate's suggested, as he's still doing now.) Remember: One missed play from a fractured jaw. No starts missed with a bad knee. His injury history said he could do it. He was freaking Superman.
Also, if he was swindling the team, then why insist on the opt-out clause? Because he really needed the cash? Uh huh.
More likely, I think, is that both sides knew he had been hurt and expected him to return much more quickly than he actually could. If I remember correctly, he was trying to return to practice in August and had a pretty severe setback, which prompted the fusion surgery. Maybe they thought he could play another year without it.
Even after the surgery, everyone from Irsay on down kept setting an aggressive date for his return, then slipping it backwards a couple weeks at a time. As if everyone involved thought he'd recover fast enough for Collins to bridge the gap -- or perhaps wanted to believe it badly enough to fool themselves? And even if the team had suspected he might be out a good part of last season, Manning still had almost all the leverage at contract time, and it was still a good deal considering his value otherwise. What were they going to do -- let him walk right then? (I suppose they could have used the franchise tag, but that would have just pushed the same scenario a year ahead, and prompted Manning to demand a max contract later, instead of the very favorable cap number he offered then. Not sure that would have been worth the current dead money on the cap.)
To the point of his value, a source from the Broncos or Cardinals told Peter King last week, "I still am trying to get my brain around the thought that one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time is a street free agent -- and was in our building talking about playing for our team...''
Uh, yeah. That's OUR quarterback. Or at least he was.
Anyways... nice chatting with you!
You are probably correct about Chris, but if he was the next Bill Polian, I would be surprised that no interest was shown immediately.
So, I've read more about the contract - I will agree with you that it appears that Peyton gave the Colts a hometown discount. And, I agree that he had the leverage to put in that awful March 8th date that basically made him untradeable. Maybe what really is bothering me about the deal is something I haven't really wanted to say out loud because PM seemed to be the model player - but the "gift" deal - I mean, PM knew his neck was hosed when he offered it. And, I believe the FO knew his neck was hosed when they agreed to it. If everyone knew the risk was that high, why didn't the FO work on a friendlier contract that protected both parties against what has now happened? I suppose maybe they didn't know, but there wasn't that much time between the contract signing and the fusion surgery. I hate suggesting that about PM, but I keep thinking it. The financials of the deal, even if a "gift," led to one of two outcomes - cutting him with a $10MM cap hit anyway, or keeping him with a $35 MM hit. And in either scenario - no clue whether or not you're making the right choice. I suppose that's what I mean by a bad contract.
We will never know exactly what PM knew, what BP knew (and Chris, if that ever mattered), and what JI knew when that contract was conceived and signed. But I'm pretty sure they knew the neck wasn't healthy (even PM has stated that publicly) when they did it.
I hope PM can play at a high level again and I will watch with interest and root for him. I worry though, that his competitive nature doesn't allow him to see the situation with total clarity (for reference, the bizarre belief that he could actually play in week 17). I'm guessing he had the same lack of clarity in his vision when the deal was struck last August.
I feel like in the Colts' situation, even if keeping Peyton Manning and trading the pick only gave us one more season-if Peyton only had one more year, which is almost worst case scenario-it still would've been the right thing to do. We could've filled holes at positions like safety, WR, & OL for years to come while doing the right thing with the man who saved the franchise, and treating him like more than a commodity. There'll be another Luck/Bradford/Ryan mega-hyped QB next year. And each year after that. All the football pundits and barstool pontificators will forget the previous year, and the new prospect will be the best they have ever seen. But Peyton will still be Peyton. There will never be another. I don't even like thinking about it.
@coltsauth_todd @PancakesPodcast It's true what that commenter posted, that week 17 will be the most significant week 17 in Colts history.
@BoomBriggs @coltsauth_todd statement is true, but it's so insulting. This really has become Luck v Manning, and that's not even a contest
@PancakesPodcast @BoomBriggs It's not fair but it's what it will be. Take the players out and I still struggle with the course taken.
It's total hindsight, but now I'm thinking a week 17 game has never meant as much for the franchise as that one did.
@pierrezombie Yea, and now the last to years have ended with Manning on the sideline. 2010 throwing his hands up in disbelief that Caldwell called that timeout. 2011 cheering harder than anyone would believe for a 3rd victory in a lost season. Very sad.