Peyton Manning’s Future: 4 Teams The Sheriff Could Play For in 2016
Peyton Manning may have played his last down in Super Bowl 50. If so, he can ride off into the sunset as a two-time champion and with most of the quarterback records in the books, he’d have little left to prove. But he might not.
Per reports, Manning gave a speech recently and seemed to be speaking on his NFL career as if it were in the “present”. ESPN’s Adam Schefter specifically noted that Manning did not sound like a man close to closing the door on a playing career, and that in “a perfect world”, the ol’ Sheriff would “like to keep playing”.
At 39 years old and with obvious regression in 2015, it wouldn’t be shocking if Manning was done. But he doesn’t sound done and Denver’s quick move to sign Brock Osweiler could point to a messy divorce coming in the next week. So, if Manning isn’t ready to mail it in, that would mean he’d consider playing somewhere else other than in Denver. No teams have spoken too loudly about their interest in Manning just yet, but perhaps when Manning’s interest in continuing his playing career becomes official, many quarterback-needy franchises will change their tune.
With that, let’s take a look at four teams Peyton Manning could be headed to in 2016:
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have since cooled off on wanting to bring Manning to L.A., but let’s face it, their current options under center are pedestrian and won’t be bringing them anywhere. In a new town, the Rams want to sell tickets and bring hope for a chance at winning.
Manning is old and regressing, but he still could manage the Rams well enough to hope for a playoff run – especially with stud running back Todd Gurley and a strong defense backing him.
New York Jets
New York has yet to commit to Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets could be another potential team that is close to making a deep playoff run. The Jets were extremely close to the playoffs last year and thanks to a solid defense and a great cast of weapons in the passing game (Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker) they could be a competent quarterback away from sealing the deal.
Can Manning hold up for an entire year and brave the cold of NYC at the end of the season? These are things the Jets will ponder first, but if they think Manning still has something left, they’ll consider bringing him on.
Manning and Rex Ryan have an odd rivalry and history, while the Bills have a so-so quarterback in Tyrod Taylor. With their own GM being very vocal about not fully backing Taylor in the past, it’s entirely possible the Bills could look for a mild upgrade. Manning is a questionable option in the cold of Buffalo, but he’s arguably still a better pocket passer and game manager than the inexperienced and raw Taylor.
Houston might be my favorite spot on this list, as Bill O’Brien desires a very traditional pocket passer to run his offense and just about anyone would be an upgrade over Brian Hoyer. Manning would need to prove his 2015 injury ailments are behind him, but he’d have some weapons to work with and could be the missing link between an average team merely making the playoffs and becoming a serious contender.
Update: Per ESPN, Manning is slated to announce his retirement at a Monday presser.
Filed to ESPN: Five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning will announce his retirement Monday in Denver per source familiar with the QB’s decision
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 6, 2016
While he is now likely to call it quits, if he should decide at any point to keep playing, the four aforementioned teams are his most likely destinations. We’ll have more on Manning if he does in fact retire on Monday.
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