The good news about the Peyton Manning sweepstakes is that it appears it will end soon. Manning has done his part, having the courtesy to put some of his suitors out of their respective miseries without virtue of long, drawn-out song and dance numbers. (Think Mike Shanahan belting out “The Learjet with the Fringe on Top.”)
Manning quickly said no to at least three teams: Seattle, Kansas City and of course Washington, which never had a shot. I’m amazed anyone thought the Redskins would be in the running. Washington had one advantage: money. That’s it. Facilities, protection, receivers, depth, talent, offensive schemes, you name it — a lot of other teams have far better hands to play than the Redskins.
Manning apparently thinks that two of those teams are the Broncos and Cardinals. He met with Coach John Fox and GM John Elway in Denver; he met everyone in Arizona, apparently, including Larry Fitzgerald, who would be on any quarterback’s wish list (and is the perfect example of the type of receiver the Redskins sorely lack). Then he headed back to Miami to resume workouts, which he has, by his own admission, been neglecting.
What he didn’t do in either Denver or Arizona, if reports are to be believed, is throw a ball. Yet he is poised to sign with someone, perhaps early this week. The Dolphins are still interested; Tennessee owner Bud Adams is waving his hand like Horshack, trying to get the former Vol’s attention. All, again, without the former Vol throwing a pass.
Is asking Peyton Manning to have a catch insulting or savvy? Granted, the guy’s all-everything. But the trophies and the Super Bowl ring came four surgeries ago, he missed the entire 2011 season and he’ll be 36 in a few weeks. Apparently, however, those aren’t enough reasons to request the guy toss a few balls around the practice facility. As for the outcome of those surgeries, teams have the word of Manning’s surgeon that they were successful. And that’s it. Presumably, the winning suitor will ask for some demonstration before actually inking a deal.
There were four basic scenarios at play for the Redskins once Manning became available, and at least two were farcical: (1) Manning would hasten to our nation’s capital to play for the Shanahans and (2) the Redskins would sign Manning and draft Robert Griffin III as well, so Manning could teach him the position.
The other two scenarios were that the Redskins should part with some top draft picks for Griffin, which was frighteningly compelling or compellingly frightening, or stand pat, leaving them to draft a quarterback not named Griffin or Andrew Luck or sign a bland but serviceable free agent.
Anyone who has followed the Redskins for more than, say, 10 minutes knows “bland but serviceable free agent” is not their strong suit. In fairness, neither is drafting quarterbacks (Patrick Ramsey and Heath Shuler spring to mind). But that was then; this is now. There is nothing not to love about RGIII. I have had one objection to trading up for the No. 2 pick from the start, and that is the obvious one: giving up high draft picks, which are the cornerstones of any rebuilding project.
But that said, what’s not to love about this kid? And we’re not going to know the success of this deal for several years, so there’s no point in beginning the hue and cry this early. There is plenty of time for hue and cry. Every day is hue-and-cry day in Redskins land.
Truthfully, I would rather the Redskins take a risk and spend some picks on Griffin than take a risk and spend millions on Manning — especially if they weren’t going to get to see Manning throw first. I do not see this as an unreasonable request, or a disrespectful one. For the money involved, I see it as a necessity.
No matter. Manning is headed elsewhere, the Redskins have some money to play with under the salary cap, and Griffin is going to need them to buy him some serious help. Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry, because there goes Mike Shanahan on the Learjet.