Shuffling His Cards: Why Peyton Manning Should Take His Talents to Arizona

On Wednesday, Jim Irsay and the Indianapolis Colts did the one thing we never thought that we would hear in out wildest dreams: They Released Peyton Manning. Now that the Manning era is over in Indianapolis, not only do the Colts have plenty (plenty!) of rebuilding to do, but Peyton Manning has a

While it does hurt the eyes just seeing Peyton Manning in another uniform, the Cardinals one just looks better than the rest.

crucial decision to make: Where will he play next season?

As the most colossal free agent the NFL has ever seen, Peyton Manning has reportedly received offers from 12 teams: the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Tennessee Titans, New York Jets and four others have reached out to Peyton Manning and his representatives.

Out of those twelve teams, one of those stands out as where Peyton Manning should go: the Arizona Cardinals, and here’s why.

Defense (and Peyton Manning) wins championships

While the Cardinals did struggle at times last season, they were 6-2 in the second-half of the season, winning five or their last six. This was due largely in part to their astounding defense. Adrian Wilson, Patrick Peterson, Calais Campbell and Darnell Docket highlight a defense with the potential to deliver for Manning down the stretch. The Cardinals defense really picked up its game down the stretch, which may be a good sign if they can acquire Manning because three of the past four Super Bowl Champions (Giants, Packers, Steelers) have had defenses that gave up 17 or less points per game in the second-half of the season. And having Peyton Manning “manning the offense” doesn’t hurt your team’s chances. A solid defense is something Peyton Manning didn’t have in Indianapolis.

Dome sweet dome

In Indianapolis, Peyton Manning and the Colts played in a dome (the house that Peyton built). Once a dome quarterback, always a dome quarterback. Peyton Manning needs to be in a dome or a warm-weather city. During his 2009-10 MVP season, Manning’s quarterback rating in weather warmer than 60 degrees was 98.3. In weather 21 degrees or colder, his rating sunk to 65.5. Even though we know Manning has the capacity to thrive in any

Yeah, I think Peyton prefers a dome, and the Cardinals can offer that to him.

weather, he will always perform in domes, and Arizona can offer that to him, as they play at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

These Cardinals can’t fly, but they sure can run

Another thing Peyton Manning didn’t have in Indianapolis is a solid running game. Joseph Addai led a lackluster effort in this phase of the game the last few seasons. In Arizona, Beanie Wells leads a strong running game. Last season, Wells ran for 1,047 yards with ten touchdowns. Elite quarterbacks always need a strong running game to bolster the offense. While Peyton Manning will electrify the field with his play, he will need a running back like Wells to go along with that. In Indianapolis, the main reason why he and the Colts were 9-10 in the Postseason was because of a lack of a someone like Wells. In Arizona that problem, would be solved.

Larry Fitzgerald

In Indianapolis, Manning always had at least one go-to receiver (Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne), and Larry Fitzgerald is the best receiver in the NFL. While all the attention goes to Andre and Calvin Johnson, Fitzgerald is still number one. Johnson and Johnson get great stats, and thats due in part to the fact that they have great quarterbacks slinging the ol’ pigskin to them. Fitzgerald has a struggling Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. The one year when he had a first-rate quarterback for an entire season (Kurt Warner), he had a career season, with 1,431 yards and 12 touchdowns. Just imagine Peyton Manning, arguably the most accurate quarterback of all time, firing it to Larry Fitzgerald, the league’s

Larry Fitzgerald can snag almost anything thrown his way. With Peyton Manning throwing to him, he wouldn't even need to make catches like this one.

premier receiver. Wow. That’s picture perfect.

“History is written by the victors”

The last time the Arizona Cardinals picked up an aging, Hall-of-Fame caliber quarterback, it was Kurt Warner, who quickly lead them to Super Bowl XLIII in his first starting season. He was brought into the same situation–a strong defense, a dome (he previously played in St. Louis, a dome team), a solid running game, and Larry Fitzgerald. I’m not saying that Peyton Manning would automatically earn a spot in the Super Bowl, but the opportunity is there for him to make history,

If Peyton Manning signs with the Arizona Cardinals, not only would he immediately push them into the upper echelon of teams, but he would be in a better situation than the one in Indianapolis. The combination of all these traits can’t be offered to Manning by any team but the Arizona Cardinals. If Peyton Manning takes his talents to Arizona, not only will he have a chance to make a run at the Super Bowl, but he will have a chance to really Shuffle the Cards of

If Peyton Manning signs with the Cardinals, he may very well see another one of these come his way.

the NFL as we know it.

By Sam Brief

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment, I would love to know where you think Peyton Manning should take his talents!

Follow me on Twitter (@SamsSportsBrief)

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38 thoughts on “Shuffling His Cards: Why Peyton Manning Should Take His Talents to Arizona

  1. You convinced me, Sam, but do the Cards have enough cap space to make Peyton an offer he can’t refuse? The other thing us that the Jets can offer him the bonus of the NYC media market – which would be worth approximately a gazillion dollars even after he retires.

    • The Cardinals have roughly $13 Million in cap space. After making some moves, they could free up some room. Peyton Manning’s number one concern isn’t money, though, it’s winning, and he’ll get that in Arizona.

      After signing Mark Sanchez to a three-year extension, the Jets have made it clear that they are no longer pursuing Manning.

  2. I think he will go to Miami. I understand the Arizona fit, but will they really pay two QBs guaranteed money? Even if they are to cut Kolb, they still would owe him the guaranteed money and Mr. Bidwell will not want to pay a player that isn’t playing for him.

    • Peyton Manning’s first concern isn’t money, this guy is a winner, he wants to win, and just because Miami may offer him more than Arizona doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll sign there.

      I do understand that Miami is a good fit (Reggie Bush, Brandon Marshall, warm weather), but Arizona gives him the best chance to win, and that’s his priority.

  3. Peyton Manning needs to be at least 90% ready. Given that he is, Cardinals would be a good option, however with the Cards signing Kevin Kolb, it will be a problem to clear cap space. I agree with the hot weather aspect. Manning needs to feel comfortable and if the QB can’t land in a dome, the second need would be the weather, which is why I think Miami is right there as a contender as well. Washington could’ve been an option but being that they already are gearing up for RGIII, it leaves Miami, Arizona and Denver. My guess is Miami.

    • Miami does seem to be a sensible landing spot for Manning.

      The question of the Cardinals’ cap space has been raised. They could cut or trade Kevin Kolb, which would clear up space. Plus, out of every NFL player, Peyton Manning would be willing to take a bit of a pay cut to win the big one.

      • Sam, It looks like the Titans are also making a substantial push to try to get Manning. According to Bill Polian, Manning’s wife has roots in Memphis, which would be another possible landing spot.

      • I don’t think they’re a good fit. The receivers aren’t as strong as in Arizona, and there could be a controversy between him and Chris Johnson because Johnson won’t get as many carries.

  4. Sam
    You make excellent points. I have a question, why would the broncos be interested in manning, especially with Tebowmania?

      • I agree. I can see Peyton going to Denver. Seattle has said they are out, Miami is out with Marshall being traded unless they seriously plan on signing both Manning and Wayne. Washington is out after the draft trade they made to get RGIII and the $36 million cap hit they took for front loading contracts. The Jets are out due to the Sanchez extension, but the Broncos seem to be a solid destination for a few reasons in my opinion. 1) Elway & Fox know they can’t win a title with Tebow. He’s a competitor, but he isn’t a title winning QB at all at this level and the pressure they get from fans and media to play Tebow is gone if they sign Manning. 2) The AFC West is the easiest road to the playoffs for Manning as that division is the weakest in the NFL and once you get in with Manning as your QB anything can happen, especially if with those young defenders having another year under their belt and 3) Elway has won 2 SB’s in his 30s and I think because he is a legendary QB and understands what Manning will be thinking he will put pieces around him to succeed.

        I can also see Arizona as a strong possibility but in order for them to clear space they will have to make some moves and they still have the hardest hitting team in the NFL to contend with with twice in SF. If I am Manning that defense is the last thing I wanna test my injured neck out on

      • Good points, JB. Now, Miami is officially out because Wayne signed with the Colts, so Manning won’t want to go there because there are no strong receivers.

        It is between Denver and Arizona at this point. He should go to Arozona, and Peyton’s never been one to take the easy way out and avoid the 49er defense. I say he takes his talents to the desert.

  5. I think Miami ownership is allowing Peyton to take his “tour”…and then will blow away the competition in the guaranteed dollar division. Ultimately, I think the combo of warmer home weather and up-front cash will woo him to take his talents for South Beach. That being said, Arizona makes more sense to me.

    • I agree with you, Bruce. The Dolphins are similar to the Marlins in that sense. They will try to bring the whole nice, celebrity, cash-filled point of view.

      That being said, I think Peyton knows that winning trumps that and he will go to Arizona.

      Who do you think needs him the most?

      • Sam, I think a healthy Manning can absolutely help Arizona compete with the Niners for the NFC West. I think a healthy Manning would improve Miami but don’t think they would rise up to being AFC East-title worthy even with his addition. So…I guess my answer is Miami needs him more because they are farther away from a title. You?

      • The “tipping point” will be Elway and what he’s able to convince Manning of in terms of the franchise’s ambitions . Poor ol’ Tim Tebow can’t get a break . Kim K however is waiting in the wings to soothe his sorrows should the Broncos decide to give him the heave ho .

  6. Well that goes without saying ! Manning at a mere 50% is certainly better ….. than Tebow at 100% .

    And if Manning should revisit Miami , then he’d better be sure that ‘phins’ GM Jeff Ireland doesn’t ask him about his mother’s sexual proclivity (whether she’d ever been a “hooker” ) and her relationship with law enforcement . Ireland posed that question to Cowboys’ WR Dez Bryant when the player visited South Florida prior to the draft in 2010 . Error in judgment on the executive’s part or simple stupidity ?

  7. Well, now that Miami traded away Marshall, I’ll agree that Peyton should go to AZ. My only problem is he’s going to take a pounding from the 49ers defense twice a year i/o playing in a division where the defenses suck. It will help him playing in nice weather though, which shouldn’t be understated. Should be interesting to see where he ends up. I hope it’s not the Broncos though!

  8. Still think he SHOULD go to the 49ers. In our March 6th post, long before S.F. entered into the Peyton sweepstakes, we stated as much. They were just one game away from going to the Super Bowl so they’re primed and Alex Smith is totally replaceable and the offensive line will protect Peyton. Arizona, who is no longer an option, have too much money tied up with Kolb and can’t provide Manning the protection he will need.

    • Yes, the Cardinals were ruled out last night. Now that they have been ruled out, I agree, the 49ers seem the best fit. Their defense and running game are even better, although I’m concerned about their receivers.

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