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Where will Peyton Manning go?

So much speculation, so many questions, and so much emotion wrapped up in this topic. Before even delving into the scenario I think is best, let me say that it was tough seeing that press conference yesterday and realizing that Peyton Manning would no longer be the iconic QB of the Indianapolis Colts. I don’t think anyone could have seen this coming before last season and to see it come to reality was a bit hard to swallow. I have always respected Peyton, he’s been a class act both on and off the field his entire career and only cemented that yesterday, leaving the only NFL franchise he’s ever known with class and dignity…

Lost in his leaving at least nationally is the loss so many Colts fans must be feeling. I know how that feels to a certain degree being a Miami Dolphins fan and seeing Dan Marino retire. There was speculation that Marino would suit up for another team, but thankfully he decided to call it a career. That is not the case with Peyton Manning however, he intends to play elsewhere, and from the reports, has been working VERY HARD at regaining the strength in his arm. I just wanted to acknowledge the Colts fans and what they must be going through as it seems the speculation of “Where Peyton’s going” is all the talk and not where he’s been and the fans and supporters of Indianapolis and around the country.

Let’s take a look at the team I feel is the best fit for Peyton Manning:

Some of the things I point out will seem redundant if you’ve been reading on Peyton and the reasons for Miami being a favorite to sign him, I will share a thing or two in this evaluation that perhaps you didn’t know or give some resources that lend more to the credence of the possibilities to Miami.

Peyton Manning has a home in South Florida. Why is that significant? In many cases when a free agent looks at a possible destination to sign with, moving their families plays a big role. Having already lived there even if only part time is an obstacle the Dolphins won’t have to convince Peyton about.

Secondly, Florida does not have income taxes. Some might think of that as a minor incentive, but when you compare that to say the New York Jets, New York has city, state, and federal taxes. That can be a significant deduction from your wages! So again, while that comes across as minor, the numbers can be pretty significant.
There have been some reports that say Reggie Wayne would be willing to follow Peyton Manning where ever he may go. Some think that the reports have no substance and why would Reggie Wayne do that? Well, as I said, I like to deal in factual reports, so why not hear it from the man himself?

Reggie Wayne

So Reggie says he would love to follow Peyton to the Dolphins and make things happen in Miami. Now the significance of that? Peyton mentioned at his press conference that he had been working out with Reggie Wayne and other former Colts players in Florida. So Reggie Wayne is someone very close to the source. Reggie is a guy that is catching the passes from Peyton currently, they are talking, and Reggie coming straight out and saying what he did in the interview really tips the scale for me.

Add to those assets the Dolphins as a team. Some say that Philbin and Mike Sherman want to run a “West Coast” style offense and Peyton may not want to operate in that sort of offense. First let’s remember, this is Peyton Manning, a student of game film! This is Peyton Manning, a counter puncher, a guy who audibles ALL THE TIME after reading the defensive set in front of him. Peyton will thrive in ANY SYSTEM, so let’s end that speculation right now.

As for the offense, Brandon Marshall paired with the possibility of Reggie Wayne and Devon Bess in the slot, that is a formidable WR corp. Reggie Bush in the backfield with second year running back Daniel Thomas has proven to be a very respectable running game. The offensive line has improved and they are a right tackle away from solidifying it. So offensively, Miami has the weapons to more than satisfy Manning.

On defense, Miami is among the best in the league, 3rd vs. the run last season and a secondary that drastically improved the 2nd half of the season. Miami has hired Bengals secondary coach Kevin Coyle to run the defense so one can expect the secondary to upgrade at the safety position and be much more competitive.

There have been varying reports on whether Peyton would be willing to play in the NFC, from most reliable resources, it seems to me that the NFC is not even going to be considered. Now Peyton may visit with them, gauge their interest, but from what I have read, he most certainly NOT sign with an NFC team. The reason? Peyton does not want the possibility of having to compete against his brother Eli for a chance to get into Super Bowl. Tony Dungy said Peyton had a lot of difficulties competing against Eli in their regular season match ups. Marshall Faulk also said pretty adamantly that Peyton will not go to the NFC.

So as for finding a team Manning could make a Super Bowl run with, having the team Miami has, the offensive minded head coach, the owner that wants to win, and having the money and resources to sign Peyton Manning, I think Miami has all the things Manning would be looking for.

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