It’s the million dollar question — Will Peyton Manning remain with the Colts, or is he destined for free agency? — everyone wants to know, but no one seems to be able to say exactly what fate has in store for the four-time NFL MVP.
Not even Manning knows if he will return to the team.
I can’t give you a prediction because Jim Irsay and I will sit down at some point and he’ll get a feel for where I am and I’ll get a sense of what direction he wants to go, right now, I have no idea. All I know is I’m still under contract to the Colts. I’m still the quarterback of the Colts. That’s why I’m in the building every day trying to get healthy.
Of course the Colts hold the first overall pick in the upcoming draft after a 2-14 season absent Manning, who missed the entire year after undergoing neck surgery in the off season prior to the start of the 2011 season.
The Colts are expected to take a quarterback — either Stanford’s Andrew Luck or Baylor’s Robert Griffin III — and the general consensus is that Luck will become the Colts signal caller of the future.
That leaves Peyton and the Colts in an awkward position, only made worse by the fact that the condition of Manning’s neck, and his overall health, are serious question marks heading into the 2012-2013 season.
It’s possible that he may still not even be healthy by the time the regular season starts up again in September.
Oh, and then there is the $28-million dollar roster bonus he is due this March, and the only way the Colts can avoid paying him is to flat out release him.
Assuming that Manning is healthy, and that the Colts do pull the trigger on his release, there are several teams that are very interested in obtaining his services.
The list includes the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, and New York Jets among just about every other team in the NFL that doesn’t have a true franchise quarterback on the roster.
Rumor has it that the Cardinals and Dolphins would aggressively pursue Manning should he become a free agent, and that’s likely to spark the biggest bidding war in NFL history.
In 13 seasons in the league, minus his missed year, Manning has completed 4,682 of 7,210 attempts for 54,828 yards and 399 touchdowns.