According to a tweet from ESPN Anchor Bram Weinstein, Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning – who missed the entire 2011 NFL season while recovering from one-level cervical neck fusion surgery – could be part of a package deal with Colts center Jeff Saturday to get shipped to the Washington Redskins.
Normally, an idle trade rumor tweet wouldn’t generate much interest, but in the wake of rumors that Indianapolis Colts’ QB Peyton Manning’s NFL career is over, that an industry source would suggest the four-time NFL MVP is trade bait with the Washington Redskins is interesting. If Manning is tradeable, it means at the very least that despite three neck surgeries, he’s considered healthy enough to play in the NFL again. Manning, who underwent neck surgery in May and again in September, didn’t play a minute for the 2-14 Colts, who struggled to their worst season since a 1-15 season in 1991.
There has been talk from New York that anonymous New York Jets players would love to have a healthy Peyton Manning on their roster instead of current quarterback Mark Sanchez, who seems to have hit his ceiling and worn out his welcome in the Jets’ clubhouse, but it’s unlikely that the Jets have the pieces needed to move in order to acquire Manning.
What pieces the Washington Redskins – whose struggles to stay relevant in the hard-as-nails NFC East have been well-documented – have to give to the Indianapolis Colts are unknown; it’s likely that if the Redskins want to be successful with Peyton Manning, they’ll have to hang on to receivers Santana Moss, Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney, and will also need to keep stud running back Roy Helu around to give Manning some options on offense.
If Peyton Manning and Jeff Saturday – long one of the game’s most respected and most influential players – are to be packaged and shipped to Washington (or anywhere else), it will be a last-ditch attempt for a franchise to earn a title, much like the Boston Celtics’ 2008 acquisitions of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett were. Manning, who is 36, and Saturday, who at 35 is long in the tooth for a lineman, are both teetering at the tail end of their primes, and it’s anyone’s guess how rusty Manning might be after going what will be 18 full months without playing when training camps open in August next season.
However, if the Indianapolis Colts are able to package a deal with the Washington Redskins or any other team for Peyton Manning, it will mark the beginning of a serious rebuild, as the franchise currently has the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and will likely get a wealth of draft picks in return.