Which means only one thing — let the speculation about where he might play begin. Washington, anyone?
Bill Polian, vice chairman of the team, said on his weekly radio show Monday night — he doesn’t talk to reporters — that the present quarterback, who’s recovering from neck surgery, is fine if the 0-10 Colts end up with the first pick in the draft and take, say, Stanford’s Andrew Luck.
“The bottom line is that if the right person is there, and it has to be the right person, then now is the time to make that choice,” Polian said on WFNI 1070. “Peyton and I have spoken about that, and he's okay with that.”
The Colts have a two-game lead in the Luck sweepstakes and, while the expectation is that Manning will play again, he is 36 and has had three neck procedures in 19 months. As recently as Nov. 3, he said the healing process was “still going slow” and, although he’s on the active roster, it is uncertain whether he’ll play this season.
That day, he offered a little insight into the five-year, $90-million contract he signed, saying it is “a one-year deal with a four-year extension and that was my recommendation because I wasn’t healthy when I signed the contract.” In early 2012, the team must pay $28 million; if it does not (if, say, the Colts drafted Luck), he could become a free agent. “If I'm not healthy in February,” Manning said (via Andrew Siciliano), “then I think it's fair for the Colts to make their decision there.”
So...naturally people are thinking about the Redskins’ quarterbacking deficiencies. ESPN’s Adam Schefter continued the jabber today, answering a reader question on his blog:
“It is the most significant question this franchises faces — and has faced for a while ... Without a quarterback, they're not going to advance much further than where they are today, which no one in Washington is happy about. The Redskins went through the offseason and didn't identify a quarterback that they felt would be a short- or long-term upgrade. That clearly must change this offseason. The problem is that there are so few options out there. The top free-agent quarterbacks are expected to be Green Bay's Matt Flynn and Oakland’s Jason Campbell [pretty sure I’ve seen how that would end]. The draft will be loaded with good quarterbacks, but Washington already is out of Andrew Luck range. The top option out there could be Peyton Manning, who could be available in a trade depending on any number of factors. But if the Colts ultimately decided to deal Manning, even he would come with risk (questions about his neck and durability). In the end, this is a quarterback league, and right now Washington doesn't have a championship-caliber one.”
The League: A bold Manning prediction from Michael Kun