Is Peyton in the Cards? We should know soon
Peyton Manning’s impending release isn’t axis-tilting news.
Even the most diehard Colts fans knew it was coming.
But when Indianapolis put perhaps the greatest quarterback of the era on the
market, it was like firing a starting gun. If you thought there was too much
speculation about Manning’s potential landing spots before, you ain’t seen
As soon as the news broke, newspapers, websites and broadcast affiliates in NFL
markets began espousing the virtues of their teams. The more prudent ones also
articulated the flaws.
Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett was forced to defend a relatively
innocuous tweet — "Peyton to AZ!!!!!!" — to the NFL Network, because
dreaming of playing with a future Hall of Famer could be construed as
disrespectful to the Cards’ current quarterbacks.
ESPN went so far as to outline each NFL’s team’s chances of landing Manning,
ending it with a grade that ranged from “high” to “no chance.” In case you’re
wondering, ESPN rated the Cardinals’ chances “medium.”
We all know the positives working in Arizona’s favor because we’ve all read and
heard them a thousand times over the past three months. The Cards have an elite
and rare, non-diva receiver in Larry Fitzgerald. They have a pair of strong,
young running backs in Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams to take the pressure off
They have a players’ coach who loves to throw the ball
around the yard. They have an emerging defense which was among the league’s
best over the second half of the past season. And they play in a dome so
Manning won’t have to brave the elements much in case that four-time’s repaired
neck develops a chronic case of arthritis.
The negatives? A suspect offensive line and that pesky March 17 timeline for
giving incumbent QB Kevin Kolb his $7 million roster bonus.
How it will play out is anybody’s guess. Rest assured, there’s a lot of
guessing going on. The one positive in this for Cards fans is they should know
quickly — that is, unless the front office decides to keep Kolb and sign
With Kolb’s deadline just 10 days away, the Cards will most likely have to
complete their Manning evaluation and make a decision by then. If Kolb gets
paid, there is no local angle to this story any more.
If Kolb isn’t carrying a $7 million check by March 17, it’s because the Cards
are certain they will sign Manning — if they don’t do it even earlier.
Not that signing Manning would calm things down. If another
Super-Bowl winning veteran quarterback ends up in these parts, the circus will
follow, setting up permanent residence in Tempe and Glendale.