Stay or leave.
That’s the big question facing Peyton Manning, Ryan Grigson, Jim Irsay and the rest of the Indianapolis Colts’ decision makers. Manning has not only been perhaps the greatest quarterback of a generation but also the face of a Super Bowl winning franchise for a decade. What does a team do with an expensive icon and hero when he’s aging and dealing with unknown health concerns? Stay or leave.
Several trade possibilities have been mentioned by various sportswriters as a potential landing spot for Manning, but the Kansas City Chiefs keep returning to the conversation — from ESPN’s Mel Kiper to the latest article from Steve Cameron of Fox Sports.
Cameron says that Matt Cassel is never going to turn into the franchise changing quarterback that Scott Pioli wants him to be and this off-season offers a chance to grab a guy like the Chiefs need on the open market.
He writes, “This is a team that was $20-$30 million under the NFL salary cap last year. Cassel has a long-term contract, but the bulk of his $63 million deal was paid off early, so he’d become a reasonably priced back-up. Think of it this way: Would you rather have one of the best quarterbacks in history – a guy with maybe three outstanding years still in front of him – for something in the range of $25 million per year, or would you sign someone permanently mediocre like Kyle Orton for $10 million? That’s a no-brainer.”
The Chiefs have Cassel already under contract and Ricky Stanzi as the rookie chosen last Aprill in the 2011 NFL Draft. Whether they will address the position is unknown but many fans are calling for a return of free agent Kyle Orton or another draft pick to throw into the mix. A trade for Manning, however, would change the conversation entirely.
There are so many parameters to this story and details to fall into place that would have to happen to make Manning available. However, it’s entertaining, at the very least, to read about such possibilities. The Colts have a major decision to make on their hands both financially in terms of the salary cap as well as the identity and direction of the franchise. The Chiefs could possibly be there to help them transition completely away from the pre-Andrew Luck era.