Peyton Manning just beat Tom Brady in the AFC Championship (again) and won Super Bowl 50, becoming the first quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl with two different franchises. Oh, and his much-maligned playoff record (14-13) is finally above .500.
If ever there were a time to walk off into the sunset, it’s now.
Only Manning reportedly wants to keep playing.
“I want to wake up tomorrow and find a field of diamonds in my backyard,” CBS NFL insider Jason La Canfora said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I want to wake up and the tooth fairy has given me a couple hundred bucks under my pillow. We all want things, right? The reality for Peyton Manning is there’s market factors at play. (Not once) – for five or six days (at the Combine) in Indianapolis – did I hear a single team at any single point express any interest in Peyton Manning. Where is he going to go?”
Indeed, if Denver is not an option, Manning’s potential landing spots would be limited. He would almost assuredly go to a bottom-feeder, and it would almost assuredly hurt his legacy.
“I think he’s going to come to have to come to terms with the fact that (he could become) a glorified ticket-seller . . . and (would be) out there with a really bad team,” La Canfora said. “Could you find one of 32? Two of 32? Maybe. But what’s he going to be thinking come Week 4 or Week 5 and the team is winless, whether it’s Cleveland or the Rams or whatever? Even those teams, Cleveland’s going to draft somebody (with the second overall pick). So really, I don’t see the match.
The Browns have invested first-round picks on quarterbacks four times since 1999. From Tim Couch to Brady Quinn, from Brandon Weeden to Johnny Manziel, all have been more or less a disaster. Cleveland fans are hoping that North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, 23, or Cal’s Jared Goff, 21, can reverse that trend.
(P.S. Their combined age – 44 – isn’t much older than Manning, who turns 40 in a few weeks.)
“The reality for him is this isn’t the Peyton Manning (that) can hit the market and call the shots,” La Canfora said. “Where is he going and at what price? I just don’t see it. His agent has told him you should retire. His dad has told him you should retire. His inner circle has told him you should retire. People can’t retire for him, but Peyton Manning without a contract in April trying to catch on as a 1B quarterback who maybe beats out the starter or who maybe gets beat out by a rookie – he’s got to know in his mind that doesn’t make sense. His heart might be telling him one thing, but he’s the kind of guy (whose) mind generally wins – and I think it still will in this instance.”