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Peyton Manning Officially Top Quarterback Available On NFL Free Agent Market

After endless speculation that the Indianapolis Colts would likely release Peyton Manning, the word is now official that the team will announce the move Wednesday during a press conference held by the team. While the release had been rumored for some time, recently there was some speculation that Jim Irsay, the team’s owner, would try to keep his franchise icon. Apparently that’s not the case. Fox Sports has the report:

The Colts were unable to reach a restructured contract with Manning that would have kept the franchise from having to pay a $28 million roster bonus that was due Thursday. The Colts are uncertain about Manning’s NFL future after four neck surgeries in a 19-month span. They also are set to draft Manning’s heir apparent — Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck — with the first pick in April’s draft.

The move immediately makes Peyton the top free agent target on a very interesting market that features two elite rookies at the top of the upcoming NFL Draft (of which Luck is one) and several free agents that could intrigue. Matt Flynn has been released by the Green Bay Packers and will draw considerable interest. Robert Griffin III is also a trade target for teams willing to pay the St. Louis Rams the bounty they will expect at the No. 2 spot in the draft.

However, none of the options will help a team win in the short term as much as Peyton Manning. A team like the Chiefs who play in a weak division with offensive talent all around makes a lot of sense for Manning and they are among the finalists listed by many experts along with the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins. Expect the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals to also check in on the Colts quarterback.