The NFL Offseason Chronicles: Where Oh Where, Will Peyton Manning Land?

Peyton Manning, once thought to be invincible, is in fact, a mere mortal just like the rest of us. Travis takes a look, and an educated guess at where #18 might play his games in 2012

One of the biggest stories of the NFL season circled around a man who would never once throw a touchdown pass. A quarterback who would never walk up to the line, only to back up again and switch the play what seemed like four or five times. A man who never took a snap became yet again, the center of attention.

Peyton Manning, the franchise quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts is on the move.

As much as owner Jim Irsay would love to keep Manning, and have him teach the projected first pick in April’s draft, Andrew Luck, it would simply be too costly of a decision. Manning is set to receive a very large bonus, simply for being on the roster, in mid-May, and many expect him to be cut before that date. Of course, that is not a definite plan, but it is what I, and many experts, believe will happen.

Thus, the next question is asked. Where will Peyton Manning choose to spend him time during the next football season? I believe that many factors will play a role in Manning choosing his final landing place, and one place has all of them.

The Arizona Cardinals.

I know, I know. The Jets, Redskins, Dolphins, and Colts have all expressed interest, but the Cardinals have everything Peyton needs.

1. A Need at QB

I rarely, if ever, am the one that’s able to say “I told you so”, but here, I am putting it into play. I was always very skeptical of what Kevin Kolb did exactly, for people to think he would be the next big thing. The Cardinals apparently did, and threw loads of money at him on a new contract, and traded prized corner back, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Kolb never sat behind one of the all-time greats, like Aaron Rodgers when he held Favre’s clipboard, he instead watched Donovan McNabb skip off to Washington, and Michael Vick promptly take his starting job after Kolb suffered a concussion.

The Cardinals must have realized, that although Kolb isn’t a wash entirely, he definitely isn’t worth the price they paid for him. Peyton would be a huge upgrade, and would make very good use of his shiny new toys.

2. An Elite WR

Although not a make or break item, having an elite playmaker to throw the pigskin to will definitely catch Peyton’s eye. Larry Fitzgerald remains one of the games best wideouts, and Peyton is probably salivating at the idea of playing catch with him, let alone actually lining up on Sunday and throwing lasers his way.

Peyton did his best work when he was able to work alongside Marvin Harrison, one of the games best ever, and Larry Fitzgerald is probably the next best thing. Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson already have established, successful QB’s at the helm of their respective teams, but as stated previously, Arizona could use someone to deliver the ball Fitzy’s way

3. Warm Weather, and a Dome

One of the least talked about aspects of the Peyton Manning Sweepstakes is where Peyton will be playing, and spending his time. Peyton is going to have the spotlight on him no matter what, but Arizona provides the most reprieve of any other location. The warm weather will be nice, and he will again be in the comfort of a new stadium with a dome, and he won’t have to worry about weather playing a role on Sunday’s.

4. Level of Competition

The Jets and the Dolphins both play in the AFC east, and nothing would be guaranteed for Peyton. He would be forced to play Tom Brady and the Patriots twice a year, something that would do wonders for their personal rivalry [let’s not kid ourselves, this was never about the Colts vs Pats, it was Tom vs Peyton], but something that would also step in the way of Peyton’s path to the playoffs.

The Washington Redskins in the NFC east don’t offer anything more than the AFC, and if anything, would be far more difficult. Two games against Eli, two more against Vick, and yep, another pair with Romo. I assume after three neck surgeries, the last thing Peyton wants is Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, and DeMarcus Ware barreling towards him, with their sole intention being his decapitation.

The NFC west however, is without a doubt, the worst in football. Besides a standout year from the San Francisco 49’ers, the rest of the division is putrid. With the NFC west set to do battle against the AFC east next season, Peyton would be guaranteed two games against each the Rams and Seahawks, and a game with the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins. Those are five games look better than anything in the other divisions.

In Conclusion…

Nobody, not even Peyton Manning himself knows where he will end up in 2012. All we can do as fans is make an educated guess, and see where the wheel will stop spinning. Is it a coincidence how many players have ended up in AZ? If Emmitt Smith, Edgerrin James, and Kurt Warner wanted to do it, why not 18?

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