The big news around the Patriots might not necessarily have to do with New England itself as we head into free agency next week. The big storyline around the entire NFL is the free agent status of Peyton Manning. The long-time Indianapolis Colt is now free to go wherever he pleases and he might be back to his old self next year. The question will be whether or not it is in the NFC or if Manning is torturing the Patriots again once or maybe even twice a year. For this article, we are going to ignore the NFC contenders for Manning such as Arizona, Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington. This piece will focus on the AFC contenders for Manning and how each one could affect the Patriots.
1. MIAMI DOLPHINS: This seems to be the clear frontrunner on where Manning will land by next week. He has a condominium in Miami and works out in the offseason there with his wide receiver buddy Reggie Wayne. The Dolphins are still searching for Dan Marino’s replacement fifteen years later. Yes, Matt Moore filled in nicely after an awful 0-6 start to 2011, but he is not the short-term answer. Manning is a perfect fit for the Dolphins. You put him with Reggie Wayne, Brandon Marshall, and Reggie Bush and that is an explosive, dynamic offense. Last year, the Dolphins blew a 17-0 lead to the Patriots on Christmas Eve. Let’s just say, if Manning is there, New England probably won’t be making seventeen point comebacks.
This would do two things for the Patriots. For one, this would put more emphasis on drafting a defensive player, primarily a cornerback with one of their two first round picks. Also, the AFC East would become a lot tougher to win with two installments of Brady vs. Manning (Which, by the way, the NFL would love). The Patriots-Dolphins rivalry is in need of some sizzle again, and this might be the juice that gets it going.
2. NEW YORK JETS: This is the most likely pipe dream out of the scenario we are putting out there. The Jets are in dire need of some form of leadership. They have a quarterback who most fans are sick of and has been treated with kid gloves throughout his career. Clearly, ground and pound is not the focus of the league anymore and it has been proven you need a good quarterback to get to the promised land. You can make the case that Manning to the Jets is the most logical case if Peyton is looking to win a Super Bowl right now, even if it is in the tough AFC East.
The reasons I say it is a pipe dream is because why would Peyton come to the Jets? He is not going to play in the same city as his brother because he wants to avoid all the comparisons between himself and Eli. Plus, the weather is cold outdoors in December usually. Manning is known for struggling in cold weather games as Patriots’ fans know from past Pats-Colts playoff games. Finally, the leadership is not stable and as long as Rex continues to open his mouth and say stupid, trash-talking comments, that dynamic is not going to change. Right now, just the talk of the Jets’ interest in Peyton helps New England because it makes the dynamic between the organization and Sanchez much more difficult.no comments