Well, the day we have been expecting has finally arrived. At 12 PM this afternoon, Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning appeared together at a press conference to announce that after 14 seasons, Peyton Manning is being released by the Colts, and is now a free agent. Handled as classy as possible, Mr. Irsay made a statement, followed by Peyton Manning giving an emotional goodbye to the Colts fans and organization. Several questions later, it was over. The end of the Peyton Manning era in Indianapolis, and now he is a free agent.
As we all know, Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan, never to leave any stone unturned, are reportedly interested in bringing the 4 time NFL MVP to the New York Jets. And as the news broke, there seemed to be mixed feelings around Jets camp. Anonymous Jets sources ranged from “I want him”, to being concerned about his health. So, there is at least some interest, as to be expected.
But, is it the best idea for the Jets? Is it realistic? Let’s take a look……….
First let’s be honest. If all things are equal, and both quarterbacks are 100% healthy, which would you want? Of course, anybody who has ever watched a pro football game over the last 14 years would take Peyton Manning over Mark Sanchez. You would be crazy to think otherwise. But that leads to the first obvious question. Is he healthy? Before we can go any further with the discussion, that has to be ironed out.
OK, let’s say he is healthy. Don’t forget we have been down this road before. The hired gun route. Have we forgotten how 2008 ended with Brett Favre, our previous hired assassin? Not too well. Just because a great player is brought in with a great history doesn’t guarantee success.
Secondly, let’s look at this from Peyton Manning’s perspective. Would Peyton Manning even want to come to the Jets? Look at the weather first of all. After all of these years playing in a dome, would his choice be to play 8 games outside in the northeast, when other options such as Miami are out there? I don’t know.
Then look at the locker room situation. The chaos that was the Jets’ locker room was widely known around the league, so Peyton must have been aware of it. With minimal changes to the personnel around him, why would Manning want to join that jungle? Mike and Rex would have to convince him that the problems have been solved.
And speaking of personnel, look at the personnel around him. Do you see Marvin Harrison? Reggie Wayne? Joseph Addai? I don’t. I see a bunch of wide receivers that get moody if they are not getting an acceptable amount of balls thrown to them. But even put that aside. Let’s say Peyton Manning is just the influence the locker room needs to calm the storm. Look at the line in front of him. They have already resigned Wayne Hunter. Vladimir DuCasse is back. With these guys in front of Peyton Manning, even with his quick release, there is a decent possibility that he could get hurt far worse than just his neck. You can’t complete passes without time to throw them.
Then there is the money aspect. The Jets don’t have much room with the salary cap, even with the restructure of D’Brickashaw Ferguson’s contract. Manning will not come cheap, and the Jets may simply not have enough money to make it happen.
Finally, let’s not lose Mark Sanchez in the shuffle here. Would he be willing to sit? LaDainian Tomlinson was quoted as thinking no, on the NFL network today.
“In my opinion, I don’t know if he’d handle it well,” Tomlinson said. “I think he’d probably go in and maybe ask to be released. Rightfully so, he would be a little mad.”
For everyone who thinks we should get rid of Mark Sanchez, nobody was calling for his head when he led the Jets to 2 AFC championship games in a row. Should we say goodbye to him after one bad season, after investing all the time and money in his development?
Former Jets T Damien Woody made a great point today. He, now an NFL analyst, in hearing many Jets fans on Twitter calling for Manning, suggested to compare Eli Manning’s 3rd year stats(as a starter), to Mark Sanchez’s, so I decided to listen, and it was very interesting. Take a look:
Mark Sanchez: 308-543 56.7% completion, 3,474 passing yards, 26 TDs, 18 INTs, 78.2 passer rating
Eli Manning: 297-529 56.1% completion, 3,336 passing yards, 23 TDs, 20 INTs, 73.9 passer rating
Not so different are they? And we all know where Eli has gone since.
Don’t get me wrong. If the Jets sign a healthy Peyton Manning, I will be the first one to open my window and shout for joy. I just don’t know if they can, or whether they really, when being honest, should.