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Most of the talk surrounding Peyton Manning’s free agency is completely ignoring a key issue: the team that signs Peyton will be left decimated once he retires in a few years.Best case scenario? Peyton has maybe three to four years left as an NFL quarterback.
That is a very small window to operate in football.
“Win now” doesn’t even begin to describe the kind of situation it puts a coaching staff and upper management in.
A few years to pursue a championship means the draft becomes an afterthought. Free agency is how you improve your team. What’s the use in developing that third round pick if he won’t be ready to go by 2013?
Whether it’s the Denver Broncos, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, or anyone else, Peyton’s new team will become the NFL’s version of the Miami Heat: where everyone wants to be.
It will become the destination point for veterans who still have some juice left but are on the tail end of their careers.
Therefore playoff runs, division titles, and even Super Bowls appearances won’t be enough.
The goal in signing Peyton Manning is winning a Super Bowl NOW.
Teams are offering the keys to the house in pursuit of Manning with a possible future front-office position also being dangled around. You can’t really blame them for going that far, but is a short term risk with potentially huge rewards worth the long term ramifications?
If you win a Super Bowl, of course.
But no matter what cast of stars you surround Peyton with, it will be hard to win a Super Bowl quickly.
There are numerous obstacles in the way, most notably:
- Tom Brady and the New England Patriots
- Brother Eli Manning and the New York Giants
- Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers
- Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints
- Houston Texans
- Baltimore Ravens
- Pittsburgh Steelers
The situation the Indianapolis Colts currently find themselves in — cleaning house — is evidence enough of how difficult rebuilding will be as soon as Peyton is gone.
All that will be left is an organisation asking itself, was it all worth it?
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