Yesterday, a friend of mine who only casually follows the Redskins emailed me to ask if the Redskins were really going to sign Peyton Manning. My reply was that they were going to try but that, in the end, Manning would decline what surely would have been a sizeable paycheck and save the Redskins from themselves.
It didn’t take long. Less than 24 hours after he became a free agent after being let go by the Colts, Manning reportedly has put out the word that he is not interested in being a member of the Redskins.
The Redskins might have been able to correct many of the issues that possibly prevented them from being in the chase for the future Hall of Fame QB. They could have upgraded the offensive playmakers in free agency and they could have tweaked the offensive scheme to better accommodate what Manning does well. There were reports that Mike and Kyle Shanahan were willing to cede a considerable amount of control over the offense to Manning.
But the one thing they couldn’t do was petition the NFL to move out of the NFC East. Or to have Eli Manning and the New York Giants moved out of the division. It appears that Peyton did not want to go against his younger brother twice a year and that may have been the deal breaker.
There would have been pluses to having Manning in burgundy and gold. They certainly would have returned to national relevance. Manning likely would have been able to drag them into playoff contention. The quarterback’s legendary work ethic and perfectionist tendencies certainly would have rubbed off on the rest of the team.
But the move certainly would have had the feel of trying to win now and pay the consequences later. It would be Mike Shanahan, who turns 60 later this year, trying to take a shortcut to one last Super Bowl run to seal his Hall of Fame legacy.
It was widely believed that the Manning was the Redskins’ first preference and that, if that failed, they would work to pull a deal to trade up in the draft to take Robert Griffin III. Many fans and analysts believe that Griffin is the better option anyway.
Manning turning down the Redskins could be a blessing, one that is barely disguised.