Why Peyton Manning won’t sign with the New England Patriots

Kyle Terada/Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots are likely in the market for a quarterback, and some are suggesting that Peyton Manning would be a good fit to join Bill Belichick's team.

That’s not going to happen.

Here’s why:

Manning isn’t good anymore

Manning is a surefire Hall of Famer and one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, but just because his team won the Super Bowl last year doesn’t mean that he wasn’t really poor in the 2015 season. In fact, Manning was the worst quarterback not named Nick Foles in the league. Manning had a defense-adjusted yards above replacement rating of minus-326 last year. For comparison sake, Colin Kaepernick was minus-182 last season. Why would the Patriots want to sign an old guy who wasn’t able to perform in a system he actually knew?

The Patriots only need a backup for two games

Manning doesn’t know the system, and even if he picked everything up in a few days, he’d only be serviceable for roughly 10 days. When Tom Brady comes back, he’s the starter. Even if Manning did sign with the Patriots, he’d — at best — have a chance to start only one game, the Patriots’ Week 4 tilt.

Manning has a plush gig peddling bad pizza, insurance, satellite TV, phone cases, and seemingly any other company that asks nicely. Why would he take two weeks off from that so that he can play one last game? Even if he wanted to, he’d know it’s a bad idea because:

It’d ruin his legacy

We forget that Manning was terrible last year because he went out on top. That’s no small accomplishment. Had the Broncos lost to the Panthers, we’d remember an old, washed-up Manning looking terrible on the field. That memory might overwhelm those of a young Manning tearing up the NFL’s best in a Colts’ uniform. Manning was gifted a great exit by Denver’s defense.

Manning is an image-conscious guy — he knows he’d be a fool to mess up that final image of him holding the Lombardi Trophy with a grin.

He’d be even more foolish to do it by playing for the Patriots. After years of battling New England, it’d be ridiculous to join that team for a cup of coffee. And for what reason — because he’s bored?

Signing with New England would be a clear sign that Manning is worse than Tom Brady — something that Manning supporters have fought against for years. It’d end the debate. How could you say Manning is better than Brady when Manning ended up as Brady's backup quarterback? How could you defend Manning’s legacy as the best quarterback ever if the Patriots released him when Brady returned from suspension?

Yeah, there’s no way that looks good for Manning.