By Jason Klein
Originally Written For JetsTwit.com – 2/1/12
New York is only big enough for one Manning.
Baby brother, Eli, has already claimed Gotham as his own while playing for the Giants. The Jets would be smart to avoid the temptation of signing his older brother, future Hall of Famer, Peyton.
I know, Peyton is a once-in-a-generation type of player, a Super Bowlchampion, and a 4-time league MVP. He’s perhaps the greatest quarterback any of us will ever see. It would be an absolute privilege watching him represent the city of New York on the field each week.
But…the Jets should not sign him.
This Sunday, Eli will lead his Giants in Super Bowl XLVI – his second trip to the big game as Big Blue’s general. Meanwhile, after a disappointing 8-8 season, Rex Ryan’s Gang is Green with envy over the Giants’ success. With a locker room in turmoil, and one Giant inferiority complex, Jets owner Woody Johnson might be eager to make a splash this offseason by signing Peyton.
Don’t do it, Woody.
It’s a mistake that could set the franchise back for years. There is no guarantee the bold move would help the Jets take over anything more than the back pages of the local tabloids. It would be a circus act reminiscent of Brett Favre’s failed attempt to sell PSLs in 2008.
Let’s be honest, Peyton Manning is 36 years-old and recovering from multiple neck surgeries. Even if declared healthy enough to play, there is no way to know how he would physically hold up under actual game conditions. If he did manage to navigate through the season unharmed, at best, he has 2-3 seasons left of service in him.
By contrast, the Jets would prematurely close the book on their 26 year-old franchise quarterback – with his entire career ahead of him – Mark Sanchez. Yes, the “Sanchize” has taken tremendous heat this offseason for his poor production in 2011. Media members, frustrated fans, and disgruntled teammates have also been quick to jump off his bandwagon.
Be fair though, he just completed only his third year in the league. That’s it. Just three seasons! In that time, the Jets have won an impressive 28 games and played in back-to-back AFC Championship Games (2009, 2010).
Carrying both Peyton and Sanchez is not a feasible option. It would be both financially irresponsible and a knock at Sanchez’s bruised ego. Having Peyton play the role of teacher sounds like a smart plan on the surface, but it’s unlikely Mark would willingly defer his starting role without any lingering animosity towards the franchise.
This week, when asked what he would do if he were running the team, Jets legendary running back, Curtis Martin, declared he would immediately snatch up Peyton. He called him “one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game,” and as a result, would be “interested in taking that chance” despite his advanced age and questionable health.
Martin should go speak to Jim Irsay.
The Indianapolis Colts Owner told ESPN this week, “Your responsibility is to make sure you’re not making decisions on a sentimental aspect. This isn’t fantasy football.” The Colts are expected to cut the face of their franchise before forking over a $28M roster bonus on March 8.
But don’t expect Peyton to file for unemployment. Despite the tremendous risk, there will be multiple teams looking to quickly scoop him up. The Jets ownership will be very tempted to get in the mix and land a Manning of their own.
Proceed with caution. This town’s already got a Manning, and he has a very big day ahead of him.
Even if healthy, Peyton’s best days are behind.
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