Peyton Manning looks back at the Colts fans before taking the field in 2008. (Kevin Terrell / Getty Images )
Peyton Manning will not be a member of the Indianapolis Colts -- the team for which he started 227 games in a row, winning a Super Bowl title and four league MVPs along the way -- next season. That much we know for sure, as the Colts announced Manning's release at a press conference Wednesday morning.
But what team's jersey will Manning be wearing next season? Assuming he's healthy -- and reports are that his recovery is moving in the right direction -- he is sure to attract plenty of attention.
Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss where they think Manning might land. Check back throughout the day for more responses. And let us know where you think Manning should play next season by leaving a comment of your own.
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times
Peyton's decision will probably come down to two major factors: the team that gives him the most enticing deal -- probably based on guaranteed money rather than incentives -- and the one that gives him the best opportunity to win right away.
Arizona could be particularly interesting because the Cardinals have some playmakers (including an All-Pro receiver), they play in a dome, and their division is winnable even with the resurgence of the 49ers. Miami is appealing in part because Dolphins owner Stephen Ross might step up in a big way to land a star, but that's a very tough division with each of the other three teams playing outdoors in cold-weather cities.
Dan Snyder has played fantasy football for years in Washington, and his collecting of stars has never really worked. Seattle is a possibility, especially with that deep-pockets owner and a team that came on at the end of last season. The Jets are a mess at the moment, and does Manning really want to share the Big Apple with Eli (or follow in the awkward footsteps of Brett Favre)?
Again, if Peyton passes the physical exams, I think there's a good chance he winds up in Arizona.
Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune
If Peyton Manning chooses his next team based on how much money he’ll make, he’ll wind up in Washington, where Dan Snyder is the world champion of overpaying free agents, or maybe in Miami, where Stephen Ross could use the boost in season-ticket sales.
If Manning chooses his next team based on marketing opportunities and his post-football career, he’ll join little bro Eli in the Apple and hook up with the Jets.
If he chooses his next team based on being able to play in an ideal environment while throwing to one of the league’s great receivers in Larry Fitzgerald, he’ll sign with the Cardinals.
But I suspect Manning will choose his next team based on the right fit, in terms of the city, the organization, the coaching staff and the team. And he will choose the Seahawks.
Nick Fierro, Allentown Morning Call
Peyton Manning makes even more sense for the New York Jets today than he did when we first recommended it long before their same-stadium rivals won their second Super Bowl with his brother Eli. The Jets have to do something to get back on the front page, besides just having Rex Ryan open his mouth.
The problem is the Jets’ offensive line, which needs a few adjustments. But nobody can make a line look better than a quarterback with a computer chip in his head, a QB such as Peyton Manning. His quick decisions and adjustments at the line of scrimmage can compensate for a lot of other things that are going wrong.
[Updated at 12:51 p.m.:
Izzy Gould, South Florida Sun Sentinel
The Miami Dolphins will lunge into the depths of free agency with their sharpest hook and best bait to fish out Peyton Manning. He's the juiciest quarterback the franchise has pursued since trading for Daunte Culpepper instead of signing Drew Brees in 2006.
Culpepper and Brees were considered risks following knee and shoulder injuries, respectively. Brees led the New Orleans Saints to the 2009 Super Bowl, and last year broke Dan Marino’s record for single-season passing yards (5,084).
Culpepper left the Dolphins after one turbulent season.
Manning reportedly had four neck surgeries, and missed the 2011 season recovering. His name alone will sell jerseys, tickets and revive faith in a franchise close to becoming a contender.
Luring Manning will take big money, but ultimately would be less costly than trading up in the NFL draft.]
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