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With the New York Giants winning the Super Bowl we can now focus on what’s sure to be a very interesting 2012 offseason.A future Hall of Famer is likely to switch teams, the most talked about and talkative team in the league needs to figure some stuff out, and the most polarising quarterback EVER has to work out a few kinks before next season.
Get ready, because the NFL Draft Combine is in a few weeks, free agency begins March 13, and the draft starts April 26.
After the back-and-forth between Colts owner Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning, it seems almost certain that the future Hall of Famer has seen his last days with the only team he's ever played for.
The Redskins, Dolphins, Cardinals, and Jets are all said to be interested. That list is likely to grow as we get closer to early March when the Colts owe Peyton a $28 million bonus.
Like Matt Cassell and Kevin Kolb before him, Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn is being looked at as the next backup QB to make a huge splash as the starter on a new team.
The same teams rumoured to be interested in Peyton Manning have Flynn on their radar, as his numbers against Detroit at the end of the 2011 regular season certainly caught their attention:
31 for 44, 480 yards, 6 TDs
It's a forgone conclusion: The Indianapolis Colts will take Andrew Luck with the first pick in April's draft.
Taking over for Peyton Manning would be a daunting task for anyone, but it will be especially hard for a rookie, regardless of how 'NFL ready' he's said to be.
Luck won't exactly be coming into a perfect situation either, as his future offensive line allowed 35 sacks in 2011. Peyton made up for his line's issues over the years by having a ridiculously quick release.
Don't expect a rookie QB to do the same right away.
There was plenty of talk when the Denver Broncos drafted Tim Tebow in 2010, about how he had worked on his delivery and improved his throwing mechanics. Amid the winning streak and crazy hoopla, it was clear that whatever progress Tebow had made was almost entirely gone.
He still positions the ball too low when he drops back to pass, makes poor reads, and routinely misses his receivers.
Tebow said he's excited to have a full offseason to work with the staff, but playoff victory and all, the Broncos were shaky at best and lucked out at playing in a terrible division.
As soon as the season ended, multiple reports surfaced saying the New York Jets had a multitude of locker room problems.
Among the drama: Wideout Santonio Holmes and quarterback Mark Sanchez didn't get along and some anonymous members of the team don't believe Sanchez can lead them to a championship.
Holmes may very well be let go, but the team will also have to adjust to the new offence under Tony Sparano.
Wide receiver Marques Colston and offensive guard Carl Nicks are free agents this year.
Colston is one of the league's best receivers and won't be taking a discount (he only made $4.6 million in 2011). Nicks is coming off consecutive Pro Bowl appearances while helping protect Drew Brees' blind side (his salary was a mere $2.6 million).
With all the needs on defence there's a good chance the Saints won't be able to hold on to both.
Some of the Steelers fans' favourites may be playing in different zip codes come 2012.
Wide receiver Hines Ward, defensive tackle Casey Hampton, and linebacker James Farrior lead the group of potential salary cap casualties.
Due to great drafting and player development, Pittsburgh usually has formidable backups ready to step up, but these things don't last forever.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis was serviceable in 2011, but nothing special. He's a free agent and may end up being another classic 'Patriots system' back who gets more money than he deserves from a different team.
The Patriots took two running backs, Shane Vereen and Steven Ridley, high in the 2011 draft. They're likely to get much more playing time in 2012.
Keep in mind: The Pats haven't had a 1,200 yard back since Corey Dillon in 2004, the last time they won it all.
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