There’s been speculation for a while that the Indianapolis Colts will release longtime quarterback Peyton Manning rather than pay him the $28 million roster bonus he would be due this week, and on Tuesday, ESPN reported that the two sides will indeed part ways. That means one of the best quarterbacks of his or any other era is about to become a free agent.
Now the question for Seahawks—and every other team with a quarterback need, for that matter—is whether Manning is worth pursuing. Manning turns 36 later this month, and missed the entire 2011 season following a series of neck surgeries.
The Seahawks are a young team in the early stages of what looks to be a promising rebuild, so conventional wisdom would say they would be wiser to find a young quarterback to develop with the team rather than bring in a veteran in the final years of his career. That being said, Manning isn’t your run-of-the-mill veteran quarterback. He is just a couple years removed from being one of the best quarterbacks in the league, a true game-changer who would, if healthy—and yes, that is a big, big, if—make any team with a need at quarterback significantly better.
The Seahawks already have what should be an elite defense next season, and by re-signing running back Marshawn Lynch, they figure to continue to run the ball well like they did in the second half of the season. So while the Seahawks figure to be better, say, two or three years down the road than they are now, they also have to believe they can be legitimate contenders with a healthy Manning.
Of course, the Seahawks won’t be close to the only team interested in Manning if he does look like he’s ready to play. Arizona, despite tying up a bunch of money in Kevin Kolb, has to think it could do damage in the NFC with Manning. The Dolphins and Redskins are two quarterback needy teams as well and may view Manning as a better option that giving up a ton of draft picks to trade up in the draft to pick Robert Griffin III. So despite the risks, Manning won’t come particularly cheap. Seattle has cap room, and owner Paul Allen has shown a willingness to spend money to land big free agents (Patrick Kerney, TJ Housmandzadeh, Sidney Rice, etc.) so what do you think, Seahawks fans, should the Seahawks make a run at Manning?