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39 posts from February 2012

February 29, 2012

Yet another reason I love RG3

You know I love Robert Griffin III.

It's been that way since the midway mark of the college football season. And it's about more than just his ability to run a 4.41 time in the 40 or the fact hes already graduated, or the fact his folks were both military personnel who instilled great discipline in the kid, or the fact he completed 72 percent of his passes with 37 touchdowns and only six interceptions last season.

No, it's the total awesomeness of this young man. He's bright. He's gifted. He handles himself like a successful 40-year-old man but manages to maintain a certain enthusiasm about things.

I love all that.

And I love what I saw below. I heard he had wowed practically every team he interviewed with at the Indy combine -- the Dolphins included. Check out how he handled the coach's interview with the NFL Network via the Sportsgrid:

February 28, 2012

Match the QB with the QB priority

If you read the last post you know the issue: At least eight teams that would welcome or need a quarterback upgrade this offseason. And only four such likely QB upgrades available.

So who mates with whom?

What player makes most sense with which team?

Where's Manning going to end up? Where's Robert Griffin III headed?

What does Carnac the Magnificent say?

Below you'll find the teams I believe are open to a QB upgrade. And with each team I give you what I believe to be their most likely QB answer in order of likelihood. Obviously, when you have duplicate answers you'll see that there is indeed a greater demand than supply.

This is obviously all speculative. All opinion. All fun.

But what the hey, you got nothing better to do.

Miami -- Most likely order: Peyton Manning, Tannehill, Flynn, RG3. Reasoning: The owner wants Manning and he's the boss. Case closed with a team whose coach and general manager cannot stand up to the owner and say, "No!" Miami has already cleared the runway for a Manning landing by saying it will accept a temporary "bridge" QB, no matter what age, as a solution to its QB problem. If Manning goes elsewhere, the apocalypse will descend upon the Dolphins. Locusts will eat approximately half the football staff and the rider of the pale (green) horse will personally haunt Joe Philbin. Oh, and it seems Tannehill would be the next most likely scenario because trading up to get Griffin will be cost prohibitive and Flynn will likely be gone by the time the Dolphins are done flirting with Manning.

Cleveland -- Most likely order: Robert Griffin III, Tannehill, Flynn, Manning. Reasoning: I don't see the Browns chasing Manning at all. He's too risky for their tastes and general manager Tom Heckert Jr. is not likely to deviate from his long-range plan to build that team methodically and through the draft. I do see Cleveland seeing an opportunity to land the most dynamic player on the board at No. 2 and trying to get their using its No. 2 and No. 22 overall selections. I hear the Browns question Flynn's durability, size, and the fact he might be a system guy. If the Browns stand pat, they might hope to get Tannehill with their late first rounder. (Personal aside: Get better Tommy!)

Washington -- Most likely order: RG3, Manning, Tannehill, Flynn. Reasoning: Mike Shanahan is no dummy. He sees the grand gifts Griffin owns. And as a QB guru, he believes he can turn the kid into a big star that will play for him for a decade and then play for his successor, which happens to be his son. The Redskins don't have multiple first round picks like Cleveland does so they'll have to do something outrageous to land Griffin. Before all that plays out, however, the Redskins will be involved in the Manning sweepstakes. I wouldn't say that is their priority, but they could be sold on the idea.

Denver -- Most likely order: Manning, Flynn, Tannehill, RG3. Reasoning: They don't have the chips for RG3. They have more than enough cap space and John Elway is probably quite convincing in making the point that you can win a Super Bowl in Denver as a 37- or 38-year-old QB. If he fails, Flynn might be a fit here, too.

Seattle -- Most likely order: Flynn, Tannehill, Manning, RG3. Reasoning: They don't have the RG3 chips barring a willingness to offer major talent already on the roster. The GM is familiar with Flynn and likes Flynn. Their draft order suggests Tannehill.

Arizona -- Most likely order: Manning, Tannehill. Reasoning: I don't see the Cards chasing Flynn because that would be a repeat of the Kevin Kolb move. They don't ahve the chips to trade up for RG3. It's Manning or bust in free agency. It's Tannehill or someone further back in the rounds during the draft.

The Jets -- Most likely order: Manning. That's it. Reasoning: The Jets will dip their toe in the water. (Yes, I'm still using foot puns for this team and will never stop). They like to make splashy moves and there is none splashier than Manning. I don't see New York factoring much with any of the other trhee. I am guessing the team would draft a QB later if the Manning chase fails.

Kansas City -- Most likely order: Manning, RG3, Flynn/Tannehill tie. Reasoning: The Chiefs are dangerous in that they are serious. They typically don't leak stuff. They typically don't suffer soap opera situations, although the Todd Haley deal bordered on it. They are just a fit for what Manning wants in an organization. They're all football and no frills. They also have a ton of cap space. Worry about this team if you're a Dolphins fan.

The scorecard:

Manning is the most likely choice with five teams. RG3 is the most likely choice with two teams. Flynn is the most likely choice with one team. Tannehill is obviously a fall-back option for just about everyone, far as I'm concerned.

Starter QB demand double that of supply

How good are you at economics?

I ask because this post is about a fundamental principle of economics and good ol' American capitalism. This post is about the principle of supply and demand.

This post, by the way, also is about quarterbacks.

Simply, this offseason is not going to be very much different than the past couple of NFL offseasons in that there will be a number of available quarterbacks that seem on the surface to be potentially elite.

And there will be a number of NFL teams searching high and low for the available quarterbacks that seem on the surface to be potentially elite.

And the number of teams is greater than the number of candidate QBs.

That's bad if you're one of those quarterback-needy teams because someone is definitely going to be left looking beyond the draft's first round or beyond the first day of free agency for the elite quarterback they were supposed to find early in each process. Oh-oh.

Before I get into the ramifications of this, let's do the exercise.

The number of teams searching for a starting-caliber quarterback this offseason is eight by my count. Truth be told, it is probably more than that, but these are the teams most NFL people believe will be actively in the market for one of the available quarterbacks.

Those teams are Cleveland, Kansas City, Washington, Seattle, Arizona, Denver, possibly the New York Jets and, of course, the Miami Dolphins.

I did not include the Indianapolis Colts because unlike the other teams, we can be certain they will fill their QB need. They will either keep Peyton Manning (less likely) or they will draft Andrew Luck with the first overall selection (more likely).

The Colts could also do major damage to everyone's supply side economic plan by doing both, thereby taking two QBs off the market and creating a major scramble. But this is probably the least likely of the scenarios.

Beyond that, there are a number of quarterbacks seen as probable instant fixes to teams' QB issues. I'm not including QBs about to be picked late in the first round or on the second or third day of the draft because these, with few exceptions, cannot be instantly counted as immediate starters.

For our purposes, we're talking about QBs that teams will likely reach for with the expectation that they will immediately start in 2012.

And that number of quarterbacks after Luck is only four -- Peyton Manning, Green Bay free agent Matt Flynn, Heisman winner Robert Griffin III and Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

I would say even Tannehill is something of a reach as an immediate QB answer. From what I've seen, he's a project that will need a lot of work, a lot of honing, a lot of coaching to grow into an NFL starter. And even then there are questions.

Nonetheless, the grand need for start-capable guys almost forces me to put him in this group because folks at the Indianapolis Combine are talking about this kid being a top 20 pick and perhaps even higher if someone gets desperate enough.

So let's see ... the customers wanting to buy a QB will outnumber the so-called quarterback answers by about two to one.

Are you ready for a Black Friday-like scramble for the QBs? Are you ready to watch as somebody's going to be very, very disappointed?

For our purposes I'd like to eliminate the Jets from the conversation as a team wanting to draft a QB. The truth is they have what they think is a starter. And they have other needs. But because this teams is always wanting to do the back page headline grabbing thing, we cannot eliminate them as a suitor for Manning in free agency. That's the only place they probably factor.

As to how serious they will be, it must be said they can argue they're only a QB away from making a push deep into the playoffs because they made that push in 2009 and 2010. They can make the argument that there's no better place to succeed at QB than NY.

But they have salary cap issues and might have only $3-$5 million in space when the league year opens March 13. And to chase Manning, you have to convince him you're going to address your other obvious needs, thus surround him with a great chance to win now.

The Jets might not be financially able to make that argument.

That still leaves seven teams chasing four players. Let's examine those situations:

Denver? They also are only a threat in free agency. They have already stated they are going to bring in a QB to compete with Tim Tebow for the starter's job. So they are adding someone. But because they don't draft until No. 25 overall, they aren't a huge threat in the draft. They won't have the chips to move to the to top 10 to become a factor there.

The Broncos, however, are dangerous to the other teams if they chase Manning or Flynn. And that is possible. Fact is the Broncos can offer either QB perhaps the most playoff-ready team of any of the ones chasing a veteran QB. That is inarguable because not only did the Broncos go to the playoffs last season, they advanced to the divisional round after beating Pittsburgh. So they can make the case they have talent.

The Broncos also have a ton of cap room available, assuming they use approximately $27 million in carry over from this season. The Horsies can boast over $48 million in cap room to not only sign a QB but also address other issues that might concern a quarterback such as Manning.

Finally, the Broncos play in a division where 8-8 got them in the playoffs. That seems like a much easier assignment than say, playing in the AFC East where last season you had to win 14 games to beat out the 13-3 Patriots.

So consider the Broncos a (sorry for this) darkhorse candidate for Manning. They lurk and that is dangerous.

Cleveland is the most dangerous team on draft day. They have the No. 4 and the No. 22 overall selections in the first round of the coming draft. That means when the St. Louis Rams put their No. 2 overall pick on the block to the highest bidder, the Browns are a step ahead of everyone else in being the highest bidder if they wish.

What does that mean? It means the Cleveland Browns probably have first dibs on RG3 if they want it. They have the most chips on draft day and can offer St. Louis an immediate return in trade that no one else can match unless they throw in proven, young, outstanding players already in the league.

Overall, the most dangerous team out there seems to be Washington. They have both major salary cap space to work with -- approximately $41 million under the cap -- they have a proven Super Bowl winning coach, they have a hungry owner that isn't afraid to spend money, their revenue stream is consistent, and they also have the sixth overall pick in the draft.

So the Redskins can chase both Manning and Flynn if they want and if they fail to land either, they could offer the next most attractive package (as in having the highest pick this year) to the Rams. The Redskins are also probably the most desperate franchise searching for a signal-caller. They don't have anyone to play the position so they must add. And coach Mike Shanahan is likely soon feeling the need to produce a winner after failing to do that his first two seasons with the team.

That's not good for one of the highest-paid coaches in the league.

The Redskins are a dual threat both in free agency and the draft. They have a high pick and big cap room. And they can be portrayed as desperate enough. That makes them perhaps the most dangerous of the teams chasing a QB this offseason.

The Chiefs were flying under the radar until the Indianapolis combine because general manager Scott Pioli likes it that way. It's a smart approach. But behind the scenes they are clearly intent on bringing in quarterback competition for Matt Cassel. They said as much at the combine.

And while Pioli played coy about the possibility of adding Manning, coach Romeo Crennel opened the door to the idea. And everyone who heard him say KC would consider talent such as Manning's can see the Chiefs chase Manning.

They can make a strong case. They have nearly $48 million in cap room so they can not only fit Manning under the cap, but also add pieces to make him feel surrounded by talent and capable of competing immediately. That is probably attractive to the soon-to-be 36-year-old Manning.

The Arizona Cardinals are viewed as a team capable of attracting Manning. They can pitch the fact Larry Fitzgerald is elite and they have other offensive weapons on hand. They can pitch a domed stadium in which to play. They can pitch playing in a seemingly soft division. They can pitch the idea that adding Kurt Warner years ago got them to the Super Bowl and so a redo is possible.

But the Cardinals have only modest cap space estimated at about $10-$12 million. They have a proven offensive system already in place and might not be willing to change that all around for Manning. They're also somewhat committed to Kevin Kolb, who cost them a ton in contract money and compensation last year.

So I don't see them over-extending themselves for Manning. Chase him? Maybe. Land him? They probably are not a favorite.

As for their chase of Flynn or a draft pick, I don't see them repeating the Kolb exercise with Flynn and their No. 13 overall selection makes them a non-factor in the RG3 chase. They could factor for Tannehill.

Seattle seems a likely destination for Flynn. Their GM was in Green Bay when Flynn was drafted there. They have the feel of a franchise that wants to address the QB issue long-term rather than with a temporary bridge guy, which is what Manning seems to be.

Given that, the Seahawks could go all crazy and chase Manning and owner Paul Allen has $31 million in cap space to play with to surround Manning with talent if he desires. The Hawks also play in a winnable division. And Pete Carroll strikes me as a coach comfortable with turning over the offense to Manning where, say, a Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona doesn't.

Seattle owns the 12th pick in the draft. They'll have a hard time competing for RG3. They probably can chase Tannehill if they decide to go that direction. But again, this team seems like a good fit for Flynn.

And then, of course, there's the Dolphins. I'd put them down as a triple-threat kind of team. They don't have the most ammunition to get Manning because they are expected to have only approximately $15 million or so in cap space and while it is not so much about using that space on Manning, it would be necessary to use it on other players with whom to surround Manning with talent.

Miami is also a darkhorse team in a trade-up possibility for RG3 because they love the kid, general manager Jeff Ireland is well familiar with his abilities, and believes he has inside information on the kid. The Dolphins, owners of the No. 8 overall pick, have already spoken with the Rams about a potential trade-up to No. 2, according to one NFL source.

If the Dolphins do not land Manning or Flynn, I see a strong, strong push for RG3.

But let's face it, Miami's priority is Manning. Has been. Will continue to be. And it is probably solidified by the fact other teams now are viewing Manning as a good possibility. That mob mentality suggests the Dolphins are not failing to see something on Manning other teams are seeing.

No, both the Dolphins and other teams think Manning will continue to be a stud (I don't) so the Miami resolve may be strengthened. The fact both Ireland and new coach Joe Philbin said at the combine they are not tied to a 23, 29 or 33-year-old quarterback (Philbin's words) opens the door for the Manning chase.

The Dolphins don't mind going after the bridge QB. They're basically preparing you for that.

Miami loves its chances because Manning loves it in South Florida. As I reported first last week, he was working out in South Florida and as I reported first during Super Bowl week, he owns a condo here. The Dolphins see all that as an advantage.

The weather is also an advantage. The fact the defense was decent last year is a plus. The fact Miami has relatively high picks to use on players to surround Manning with talent is another advantage.

But the cap situation is not optimal. Competing against the Patriots every year is not a major plus. And even competing against Rex Ryan, who for all his faults is a good defensive coach, is also not a plus.

The Dolphins will be all in on Manning. If they fail there, that is a major, major setback. Where they go from there, I cannot tell you. The Dolphins haven't said how they feel about Flynn which would be the next chip to fall.

So that's it overall.

Later today I'll break down for you which players are most likely pointing to which teams. Obviously, the Dolphins are most pointed toward Manning. They are tilting the demand for the former Pro Bowl player heavily in a supply-poor environment.

February 27, 2012

Dolphins do their homework at cornerback

What about a cornerback for the Dolphins? It sounds strange because Vontae Davis and Sean Smith are young and under contract for 2012, But the Dolphins are clearly thinking about their possibilities at the position because the club needs nickel cornerback help.

During their time at the Indianapolis combine, the Dolphins interviewed both Janoris Jenkins and Dre Kirkpatrick -- two outstanding talents with obvious red flags -- as possible cornerback additions. (No, not at No. 8 I would think.)

Kirkpatrick, an outstanding talent from the University of Alabama, was recently a charged with marijuana possession. And although the charge was dropped a couple of weeks later, the Dolphins no doubt asked the corner about the incident during their 15-minute meeting.

What might Kirkpatrick have answered?

"It was just me being at the wrong place at the wrong time, and the guy that left the marijuana in the car turns himself in," Kirkpatrick said of the incident in which a friend eventually admitted the drug was his.

"He didn't want to put me in that bad situation. He signed an affidavit saying that I was unaware of the marijuana being in the car and the charges have been dropped."

Kirkpatrick talked to San Diego, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Oakland and the Dolphins while in Indianapolis. I can understand why. He's a fine player.

He talked about how he gave up a touchdown against the Florida Gators this past season. He said it was his first touchdown scored.

For the year, someone asked.

"Ever," he responded.

Jenkins is similarly talented although his history probably raises more flags and eyebrows and anything else that is raised in questionable situations. 

Jenkins originally went to Florida but was forced to finish his college career at North Alabama after a serious run of trouble. He flunked a drug test, was arrested twice for marijuana possession, and again a third time for his involvement in a bar fight.

Oh, and he's got four children by three different mothers -- a budding Antonio Cromartie, if you ask me.

"I made a few mistakes and I learned from them,” he said. “Everything I did, I did. I’m admitting it. I did it. I’m looking to put that in my past and move forward.”

Jenkins was forced to finish his college career at North Alabama after a run of trouble. He flunked a drug test, was arrested twice for marijuana possession and a third time for his involvement in a bar fight. He’s also 23, and already fathered four children by three different mothers.

"I'm pretty sure it will hurt me," Jenkins said. "but I'm looking past that, looking forward to moving on and just being successful from here on out."

February 26, 2012

RG3 talks to the Dolphins, runs fast PLUS Chiefs may also chase Peyton Manning

A quickie update of the happenings out of Indianapolis at this hour:

First, Robert Griffin III had the usual 15-minute meeting with several teams this weekend. The Dolphins were one of those teams.

This doesn''t guarantee the Dolphins are going to trade the farm to move up and get RG3. But it does show they're serious about every possibility at quarterback this offseason. I'm told RG3 has been amazing in his interviews and the Miami interview was no different.

He aced it.

He's also impressive on the field. He is, after all, a great athlete as well as a great, great college quarterback. He ran a 4.38 unofficial 40-yard dash time today. That is wide receiver fast. His vertical leap was 39 inches. [UPDATE: The official time is in at 4.41. Still screaming fast for a QB.]

The beauty of him?

His speed and skills actually translate on the field.

I've seen a lot of very fast players whose speed doesn't show up in games. Others, such as New England wide receiver Wes Welker for example or even Miami's Brandon Marshall, are not fast receivers. But they are effective because their size or quickness makes them play faster than what their 40-yard times would suggest.

But enough of the measurables for now.

I want to share with you the words from Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel. He was asked about Kansas City's potential interest in the expected free agent QB. And while KC general manager Scott Pioli was coy in commenting about Manning or KC interest in Manning, Crennel was more forthright.

"With a talent like that, I would be crazy not to consider it if he’s available. I’ll leave it at that,” Crennel said.

Obviously, the Chiefs have a lot of money invested in Matt Cassel. But they intend to sign or draft another QB to compete with Cassel for the starting job. It has been speculated that the focus of that attention would be Kyle Orton, who finished the season as the Chiefs starter.

But Manning obviously could change that focus.

And if that happens, add the Chiefs to the list of other teams potentially interested in Manning, along with Washington, Miami, possibly the New York Jets, and possibly Arizona.

February 24, 2012

RG3, Luck go on the offensive for No. 1 pick

Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are conducting a bit of a battle for the first overall selection in the NFL draft. And both are using the charm offensive.

Both have already begun interview sessions with teams. Luck has already spoken with the Colts at the Combine. RG3 spoke with Philadelphia Thursday evening and said he's scheduled to talk to Kansas City, Washington, and Indianapolis.

Luck shaved his mountain man beard for the event. RG3 today was rocking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle socks. Neither will throw at the Combine -- confirmed by both.

Luck is obviously prepared. He knows he is the presumptive first pick. But he cannot blow it by being something of a jerk during the Combine. He can leave no doubt that he'd be a bad teammate in Indy if he's selected and the Colts try to keep Peyton Manning.

So he's not.

"Peyton was my football hero. That's who I modeled myself after. You never truly replace a guy like that ... Who knows what happens."

Luck went on to say that, "If I have the opportunity to learn from a guy like that, of course, you're going to take advantage of it."

Yes, he was coached well. Luck measured an even 6-4 today.

RG3 was equally effective during his media session. The guy was masterful. Obviously, he wants to go No. 1 and cleared the way by saying he wouldn't be a problematic backup behind Peyton Manning.

"It would be an honor to sit back and learn," he said. "I'd hold the clipboard with pride."

Asked to name players he patterns himself after, RG3 mentioned Randall Cunningham, Steve Young, John Elway and Ken Stabler.

Ken Stabler!

One knock against RG2 was erased earlier today when he measured in at 6-2 3/8ths and 223 pounds. Another knock is he played his entire career at Baylor in the shotgun.

"So did Eli Manning and Tom Brady in the Super Bowl," Griffin said.

Griffin also said he's eager to get on the grease board with teams and show him he knows schemes. There is a perception the Baylor offense is simplistic and RG3 might have trouble picking up NFL concepts.

Not true, he said.

"I can't wait to show teams what I know," he said.

Griffin is from a military family. Both parents were sergeants in the service. "It helped me to be the disciplined person I am," he said.

Love this kid!

RG3 height, weight is the real deal

One of the beautiful things about the Indianapolis Combine is it doesn't accept the hype about players.

If a player can run, you'll know it. If a guy can lift, you'll know it. If a guy's size is legit, everyone finds out.

That was important for Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III because he was listed at 6-2 and 220 pounds on the Baylor Bears program and, well, no one believed it. I heard and read, even on this forum, posters and readers saying the Baylor program's promo of RG3 translated to him being perhaps 6-foot and 200 pounds.


Griffin was measured today. His official height is 6-2 3/8. That's legt.

He weighed in at 223 pounds. Also legit.

And if you've ever seen the kid, he has potential to easily gain another seven pounds or so.

So aside from being able to throw at prolific levels, being accurate, and running like the wind, he has legitimate NFL QB size. Oh, and if you don't believe he can run like the wind, wait until Sunday.

I predict he'll run in the 4.4s. 

Dolphins win coin toss vs. Carolina

The Dolphins this morning won the coin toss against the Carolina Panthers and will have the eighth overall selection in the April draft.

The Panthers, who shared a 6-10 record with Miami, will have the ninth overall selection.

I would say this is great news in that it gives the Dolphins a better pick if they're of the mind to trade the pick. The pick has more value, obviously.

If the team uses the pick, clearly, they're in position to pick a player clearly with top 10 value.

It's 2012 and the Dolphins are undefeated!

OK, now, what player should the Dolphins pick?


February 23, 2012

Current Dolphins philosophy is win NOW

Usually, when NFL teams hire a new head coach and staff there's a honeymoon period. There's a year or so when ownership and fans and the media accept that something is being built and this is going to take time and patience is the order of the day.

Joe Philbin apparently doesn't get that.

That's because in discussing the current Miami philosophy on quarterbacks, general manager Jeff Ireland made it very clear he's in win-now mode and that Philbin's responsibility is to both "win right now" and in the future.

That's how it is when the coach is new and the GM has been around four years before him and they're under different pressures and expectations.

In this case, the Ireland agenda wins out, as is understandable, because he is higher in the Dolphins hierarchy than Philbin. And since he's higher, his view of things is the club view.

And because the club believes it is in win-now mode, the kind of player it seeks, the kind of approach it uses it might be different than a team that is in full rebuilding mode. Suddenly, older players are OK. Suddenly, patching the ship at sea is viewed as just as useful as sailing into dock for repairs.

That is most evident in Miami's approach to the looming chase for a starting quarterback. While most teams in full rebuild mode are searching for a young QB that can grow and learn with the new staff and revamped roster, the Dolphins are going to be just fine with a bridge quarterback, thank you very much.

"I don't think it has to be a long-term solution," Ireland said today during his media availability in Indianapolis. "I think you can look at a short-term solution. Obviously, you like a long-term solution, but you can try to make sure that ... or you can try to get both. You can certaintly try to get both in that regard.

"You've got to try to help this football team win today. And you have to look to the future. That's my job, you know, build a team for today and the future. Joe's responsibility is to try to win right now with the mind on continuing for the future as well."

In saying this, Ireland is clearing the way for a chase of a veteran quarterback. Let me see ... what veteran quarterback might be available on the market in the next two or three weeks, by say, March 9th?


Obviously, Ireland is insulating against criticism that Peyton Manning is soon 36 years old and he's, at best, a solution for a year or two before his age diminishes his once amazing skills.

So the door for a Manning addition is officially open. And this had to happen if the team was going to chase Manning. It could not philosophically claim that it was building for the future and still chase a veteran of 14 NFL seasons. The two don't match.

So Miami is officially in win-now mode.

By the way, previously I told you that a chase of Manning would put Miami in win-now mode. And, if Manning is released by Indianapolis and signed by Miami, I warned you that win-now mode meant commiting resources to that win-now effort.

That means signing older players in free agency. That means diverting resources that one might use for other needs or wants to help Manning succeed immediately because his window of opportunity is small.

It is clearly not the long-range view of things. It is, by definition, a now effort.

NFL is in Indy; Peyton Manning is in Miami

The NFL's annual combine is underway in Indianapolis and everyone who is anyone -- general managers, coaches, scouts, agents, media -- is there. (So of course, I'm in South Florida.)

But guess what?

So is Peyton Manning.

While the Dolphins contingent, including general manager Jeff Ireland and coach Joe Philbin, is in Indy picking and prodding at college talent hoping to become NFL talent, Manning is in South Florida enjoying the great weather and working out.

He was seen Wednesday night at Joe's restaurant on South Beach, where Manning has a condo. He has also been spotted working out, including throwing sessions with Colts wide receiver and former University of Miami star Reggie Wayne.

A source tells me Pierre Garcon, another Colts receiver and South Floridian, is expected to soon join the work.

So does any of this mean Manning is headed to the Dolphins?

The short answer is no. It means the Mannings like the weather here. It means several teammates happen to live here. It means Manning is not expected to have that face-to-face with Colts owner Jim Irsay in the coming hours because, well, he's here.

But it doesn't mean Manning is definitely headed to the Miami Dolphins. I must say this, however, it doesn't hurt that the guy likes it here.

It's unclear if Manning is aware of the groundswell among some Miami fans to get him to the Dolphins -- a movement illustrated by the billboard I wrote about on the blog Wednesday. But I know this: The Dolphins aren't necessarily moved by the billboard.

In his 15-minute talk with the media in Indianapolis today, Ireland said he hadn't even heard of the billboard's existence until five minutes before he began his presser.

Finley contract in Green Bay may ripple in Miami

The Green Bay Packers didn't become one of the best organizations in the NFL by luck. These guys work at their craft and do what is necessary to maximize every ounce of the draft, the salary cap and free agency -- well, maybe not free agency but that's by design.

The point is anyone that saw Green Bay simply standing idle while a valuable chip found its way to the center of the table without a chance to bring a return was simply dreaming. Think of quarterback Matt Flynn as that chip. And my guess is the Packers want a return for him when free agency poker begins.

Flynn is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent starting on March 13. With his success in his two starts the past two seasons, Flynn has basically earned himself a chance to start full-time somewhere. So he'll go looking for a starting job this offseason.

But are the Packers simply going to watch him walk and get nothing in return for him? Maybe they have no choice. But on Wednesday, they took the first step toward trying to get something in return for Flynn.

The Packers signed tight end Jermichael Finley to a two-year contract. The deal is worth approximately $15 million and will pay Finley over $10 million by next March. The deal also ensures Green Bay doesn't have to use its franchise tag on Finley.

And now, if they wish, the Packers can tag Flynn.

Understand the idea of tagging Flynn isn't meant to ultimately keep Flynn. The Packers are prepared to let the quarterback walk. But the tagging of Flynn would open the door for them trading rather than simply losing Flynn without compensation.

The Packers would love a second or third-round pick for Flynn. And they may very well gamble using the tag that would be worth around $14.4 million on the player to get that accomplished.

The Pack would thus turn Flynn's free agency period into a trade period. They would shop Flynn to teams interested and take the best offer. Flynn would have to agree to renegotiate the one-year franchise tender into a long-term contract before any team would be willing to make a trade.

Then, once he was dealt, he would sign that long-term contract.

New England did this in 2009 with backup quarterback Matt Cassell, whom they sent to Kansas City for a second-round pick. In 2008, the Packers franchised defensive tackle Corey Williams and traded him to Cleveland for a second-round pick.

I believe Green Bay intends to do just that. First, of course, the team must clear some cap room by making other moves. And the success of those moves will indeed factor into whether the tagging of Flynn will be possible. But, again, I think that is what Green Bay intends to do.

So why does this matter?

Well, Flynn is on Miami's radar. Former Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin is now in Miami. It makes perfect sense that if Peyton Manning -- Miami's priority in free agency -- somehow falls through, be it because of health or other reasons, then Flynn would be the next candidate to fill the starting quarterback need. As I wrote weeks ago, the Seattle Seahawks also might factor in the Flynn chase because their general manager was in Green Bay when Flynn was drafted and had a prominent role in the choice.

So, for Miami or anyone else potentially interested in Flynn, the idea of adding him might easily go from simply signing a free agent without thought of draft-pick compensation to the idea of having to trade for Flynn and possibly giving up a good draft pick in the exchange.

It makes sense for the Packers if they can work out their cap issues. It potentially hinders Miami because general manager Jeff Ireland obviously wants to keep as many of his draft picks as he can.

Life in the NFL.

February 22, 2012

Grassroots movement encourages Manning signing

There's a grassroots movement in town to bring Peyton Manning to Miami. No, I'm not talking about Dolphins owner Stephen Ross's intentions of having his team chase Manning.

I'm talking about the folks that put up a billboard close to the intersection of Interstate 95 and Interstate 595 near the team's Davie, Florida practice facility.


The movement's website is manningtomiami.com and in trying to explain its mission statement it asks rhetorically, "How many wins is Manning worth? When's the last time we the fans have had an "impact" quarterback? What about the most cerebral quarterback of all time?

"Get behind this movement and let your vote be your voice and make a difference!"

The site also has sponsors so I suppose the mission statement is also to make money. And I applaud the entrepenurial spirit of the work. I also respect that folks with an opinion and a passion get off their duff and turn an idea into a tangible work.

But ...

It doesn't change my mind about the wisdom of Manning. (I'm not for it).I doubt it moves the Dolphins one way or another because they are not sending out ballots to fans to listen to their voice. I also doubt it will move Manning one way or another if he eventually reaches a moment where he has to decide where to play other than Indianapolis.

Still, good job by the website and billboard folks. I wonder if they'll debate the issue as we do here -- because it is not a slam dunk. I wonder if they will answer the serious questions about signing a 35-year-old (36 in March) quarterback with a great career to his credit, but also with a serious nerve damage history.

By the way, this is your chance to show your creativity. If you wanted to put up a billboard near the Dolphins facility, what would it read?

Go ...

February 21, 2012

The Dolphins offseason plan? Possible version here

Jeff Ireland has "a plan" for the offseason. He isn't giving details of what that plan is. He has no intention of unveiling it for public scrutiny to the point where he told Dolphins coaches not to even talk about quarterbacks or needs or free agency during their recent media availability.

Makes sense.

But, let's face it, this isn't rocket science.

Miami's needs are easy to understand if you watched the team the last couple of years. The players that are or will likely become available are also public knowledge. And we know there is a finite amount of ways the Dolphins can actually add players -- through free agency first, the draft and, of course, trades.

So what does Ireland's plan likely look like?

Let's begin with the problems the plan must address:

The Dolphins need a starting QB first and foremost. They would love a franchise quarterback, of course, and that's the first order of business. But at the minimum they need a quarterback who will compete with Matt Moore for the starting job in training camp. That is known to everyone.

So how to address the QB question?

Peyton Manning, if relatively healthy, will be the team's top target if he's available. Simple. Ownership has sent this commandment down from the Dolphins version of Mount Sinai. I've written Manning is the QB priority if he's healthy and until Manning either stays in Indianapolis, or retires, or shows he is incapable of throwing the football (the latter of which will not happen), he will be the thing for Miami.

If Manning is out of the picture, I think the Dolphins go with Matt Flynn. The fact is Flynn will come with a starter's price tag and not a lot of certainty. But he comes with more certainty than any possible draft pick not named Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. Flynn in free agency seems to be more logical, given his history and connection to Joe Philbin, than say, using a first-round pick on Ryan Tannehill. Flynn is young and more experienced and probably more NFL starter ready than Tannehill. And if you pick up Flynn, you can free up use of the first-round pick for another major need while still having the option of drafting another QB -- perhaps Brandon Weeden -- later in the draft.

If the Dolphins cannot add either Flynn (who will have other options) or Manning (who is a huge wild card) in free agency, you can pretty much put the first-round card in right now for a QB.

Does that mean Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are out of the question? Nothing is out of the question, I suppose. But I don't see the Dolphins paying two first-round picks, plus more resources, such as a second and perhaps a third round pick, or perhaps even three first-round picks to go to the No. 2 overall spot where getting Luck or Griffin will be possible.

Using that many chips to go high enough for the two QBs could cripple the franchise for years if the QB it brings in return is not a franchise player. And as Bill Parcells said, they don't sell insurance for this stuff.

Moving on.

The club needs a right side to the offensive line -- with both right guard and right tackle a question mark. Marc Colombo is done. If he finds himself in a Dolphins uniform again in training camp, something went horribly wrong because he is simply not a starting-caliber NFL tackle any more. Assuming the club intends to fill one of the right side needs, either at guard or tackle, with an "on campus" solution -- such as John Jerry or Nate Garner or Lydon Murtha -- that still means the club needs to solve the other right-side problem by adding a body.

There are great free agency options such as Carl Nicks at guard. I love the prospect of Jared Gaither at tackle in free agency. But both will be very, very, very expensive. Nicks today said he's looking for a deal above $56.7 million that averages more than $8.1 million per season -- the deal signed by teammate Jahri Evans. No way the Dolphins pay that!

Despite their history for spending extravagantly on the offensive line in free agency, I think the Dolphins aren't going down that road. I think they'll try to solve their offensive line issue in the second wave of free agency or in the draft -- not the first round.

The club also needs a pass-rusher. The truth is I believe this is the top need and the only one that rivals quarterback. Simply, the Dolphins need to pressure the quarterback better, need to find a pass-rusher so good as to make Cameron Wake the complementary pass-rusher, and need to make sure this player is also a viable run-stopper on the edge. I know that Mario Williams will be available in free agency. Cliff Avril will also be on the free agent market.

But again, I don't see the Dolphins spending their money here. I see them spending draft picks here and an early pick at that -- probably their first pick assuming the quarterback issue is resolved in free agency.

There's a need at free safety. There's a need at tight end. There's probably a need at wide receiver because a high-priced or high draft pick QB needs as much help on the other end of his passes as possible.

These are all issues tackled in the second-wave of free agency or on the draft's second or third days. I assume the Dolphins still have very high hopes for Charles Clay as a hybrid tight end so they're not going to invest a high pick or a great deal of money there. They obviously didn't last year.

My big concern is that Miami will continue to be lulled into a sense of false security at WR. Davone Bess did not show well last year -- certainly not as well as he did the previous years. And while Brian Hartline had solid moments, he still hasn't proven he's a good No. 2 starting WR despite owning the job two seasons.

Me? I'd get the QB more help. I'd get Brandon Marshall some help. I'd get solid WR wherever I could find him. By the way, did I hear Green Bay may be parting ways with Donald Driver? I scoop him up. He'll be familiar with the system, he's an awesome locker room presence, he knows how to win, and he would make Flynn a nice security blanket.

Yes, he's 37 years old. I get that. But he was also Green Bay's best WR in the playoffs. I hope the Dolphins get that.

February 20, 2012

Free agency timing could affect Flynn-Manning decision

Do you have a calendar?

If you don't, you're in for a sobering experience. If you have one, you probably already understand that what I'm about to share is truth.

The calendar says March 8th is precisely 17 days away and falls on a Thursday. That is the deadline by which time the Indianapolis Colts must either pay Peyton Manning his $28 million bonus or allow him to become a free agent.

Five days later, on Tuesday March 13th, unrestricted free agency will begin. That is ostensibly the first day Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn is expected to hit the open market.

Now that we've established those two facts, you might begin understanding where we're going ...

The facts are that barring a sudden and unexpected return to health in the next 17 days, Manning may quite possibly become available and no one will have any certainty he will be 100 percent recovered from his multiple neck surgeries and nerve problems when the deal is done. In fact, it's likely that no one will be able to even predict with certainty by March 8 that Manning will be 100 percent by the start of the NFL season.

Nerve regeneration is simply next to impossible to predict.

Teams will be able to look at the nerve response and strength charts and predict Manning will continue to get better, but know for sure? No way.

So get used to the idea that certainty is not something any team chasing Peyton Manning is likely to enjoy, assuming he's available.

And because of the timing of it all, it will be practically impossible for any team to go through a logical progression of decisions on Manning and Flynn. In other words, it will be impossible for one team to say, "We'll sign Peyton Manning if he's available and healthy and if he's not, we'll sign Matt Flynn."

That progression of decisions will probably not exist, again, because Manning will probably not be 100 percent in three weeks while he is on the market at the same time as a healthy and avaliable Flynn.

In cases where teams are dealing with two healthy free agents, they can bring both to town, check both out physically, and then make a decision on which best fits. But with Manning and Flynn, the team might bring both to town, and only one of the players will be healthy.

It's like shopping for a quarterback but comparing apples to oranges -- a healthy unproven young quarterback versus a veteran unhealthy proven quarterback.

Some teams won't chase Manning as a result, while others will pass on Flynn and gamble Manning return to his old form. The two play the same position. They will be available at pretty much the same time. But they are vastly different in what situation they must be signed under.

Either way, you're taking a gamble. Both require teams to project. Neither quarterback comes with the luxury of certainty.

The team signing Flynn won't know for sure he's a starting-caliber player until he does it for much longer than his two games worth of experience. The team signing Manning won't know for sure he'll be back to 100 percent -- until the season gets going and he proves it one way or the other on the field. It's all a million-dollar guessing game.

And here's another wrinkle: Because Manning isn't likely to be 100 percent, he might decide not to expose himself to visits and exams right away. He might decide to wait until he gets better.

So what does a team do then?

Do you wait on Manning and likely lose out on Flynn, who will sign with the a more aggressive team? Or do you pass on the possibility of Manning regaining his greatness for the chance to sign an unproven, young, but healthy an readily available Matt Flynn?

Flynn certainly isn't going to wait for Manning to be signed for him to sign. Someone will chase him and he will sign. That will leave the team waiting on Manning at risk because, well, what if Manning never gets better? What if Manning retires? What if he requires another surgery as Sports Illustrated speculated?

There is nothing that will keep teams from chasing both Manning and Flynn at the same time. I imagine you can bring both in and give both the once over and then pick based on which projection discussed above you're most comfortable with.

But the idea that anyone will have the luxury of knowing that Manning is definitely healthy or not before moving on to Flynn is not realistic based on the timing of things.

And even if Manning decides to wait to sign, a team must decide whether to jump at Flynn or not early because, again, he won't wait for Manning to decide where he's going. Flynn will simply go to the combination earliest/highest bidder who has obviously eliminated Manning as a possibility.

So this won't be an "If not A, then B" scenario." This will be more a scenario where a team makes priorities and then moves on those priorities accordingly based on an educated guess.

February 18, 2012

The type of QB Mike Sherman looks for

General Manager Jeff Ireland knows the quarterback search this offseason is the thing. He knows it's important. And he's eyebrows deep in working the problem.

He's so fired up about the issue, he's told coach Joe Philbin and his assistants and scouts not to breathe a word about Miami's plans, although everyone knows owner Stephen Ross has already identified Peyton Manning as his target if/when he becomes available.

But outside of names, what are the Dolphins looking for to drive their incoming West Coast offense?

"You like to have a guy that will let the system work for him instead of [him working for the system] -- go through his progressions," offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said this week.

Believe it or not, the first thing Sherman looks at when searching for a successful quarterback is not the arm. It's the feet.

"I like to start with feet," he said. "I want to have a guy that has good feet. If you have good feet, you have balance at the top of your route. You're in good throwing position. I always start from the feet up on quarterbacks because we're going to do a fair amount under center as well as in the shotgun on quarterbacks.

"The timing and the rhythm of the play is so important. In the West Coast offense, tempo and rhythm is very important -- one, two, three. One, two, three. We time the drops. With [Brett] Favre for six years we timed his drops to see where he is in his time from point A to point B."

OK so feet is a big deal. What else?

"Other things in the West Coast offense is you like ot have a quarterback who is able to make a good decision, have a quick release, get the ball out as he goes through his progression."

So if you're judging the QBs available in free agency, the draft and through trade, judge the things Sherman is judging.



February 17, 2012

Where is the 'hidden talent' on the Miami offense?

Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said Thursday that in studying the Dolphins he saw some "hidden talent" on the roster and his job is to draw that out and make it show up.

This has to interest any Dolphins fan that remembers Yeremiah Bell came out of special teams duty to become a long-time starter at strong safety. It hearkens to the days when Wes Welker came off the waiver wire and worked his way into the starting lineup. It speaks to the possibilities that maybe, perhaps, hopefully, the Dolphins have a diamond here or there that simply got lost in the rough of 6-10.

Also, I'm a big Jeremy Lin fan so I believe it's possible for guys to suddenly perform when given the opportunity. I loved the Tim Tebow story so I think being buried deep down the depth chart isn't necessarily akin to being in a career grave.

But if the Dolphins do have "hidden talent" where is it? Who represents that talent?

Sherman hasn't told the players he's identified yet about his high hopes for them. So he wouldn't tell me when I asked if he'd name the players specifically.

But one can hazard an educated guess ...

If you're talking offensive line, which is Sherman's specialty considering he coached the position before, one has to begin with John Jerry.

Jerry was a coach favorite when he was at the Senior Bowl in 2010 and the Miami staff was coaching the South squad. Tony Sparano loved him. Then he got to Miami as a third-round draft pick and simply didn't live up to the hype.

He struggled learning the system, then got sick, then lost weight, then lost his job, then kind of disappeared. The start of 2011 training camp was no more impressive when Jerry started out on third team.

But during the season, Jerry worked at both right guard and right tackle, played in games at both positions, and frankly, didn't seem overmatched in the least. Was he perfect? Of course not. But maybe with some work, he can land one of the two wide open spots -- guard and tackle -- on the right side of the Miami offensive line.

Nate Garner might also be considered a hidden talent. He started games in 2009 and was expected to compete for a starting job in 2010 when he broke his foot. Season lost. Last season he returned to backup duty. He started one game at left guard and was fine. He filled in at left tackle one game and was over his head. He's not a left tackle but perhaps Sherman sees something there as a right guard possibility.

Clyde Gates. Remember the talk of him blowing the top off the defense with his great speed? Yeah, well, he caught two passes for 19 yards as a rookie. But perhaps there is a there there. Mark Duper and Mark Clayton didn't light it up as rookies, either. (No, I'm not saying Gates will be a Duper or Clayton so please don't read craziness into the point.)

I am saying, however, that Gates has learning and working to do. Perhaps with this coaching staff he can prosper and unveil that talent which was very well hidden in 2011.

Maybe Sherman considers Charles Clay and Daniel Thomas hidden talent because they were backups and didn't contribute to great or eye-popping degrees in 2011. I believe Dolphins fans are aware of the second-round running back and sixth-round TE/H-Back.

But hey, if Sherman doubles the production from each player, I'll gladly call them hidden talents all day if he wants. No worries.

February 16, 2012

Mike Sherman: Dolphins not far from Super Bowl

Mike Sherman has a Super Bowl ring from his time with the 1997 Green Bay Packers when he was the team's tight ends and assistant offensive line coach. He wants another ring.

And he thinks the Dolphins are close enough to help him get that ... No, seriously, Sherman sees the Dolphins that went 6-10 last year as being a few tweaks away.

"I've watched the tape, I don't think we're that far away," Sherman said today during a 30-minute meeting in which Dolphins coaches met with the media. "We're missing a couple of pieces here and there and we have a chance to build upon what Jeff Ireland has put together here. After watching the tape, I feel like we get a couple of pieces here and there and we'll be close."


Sherman is clearly excited about Miami's personnel.

"We'll have some very explosive potential with the talent we have on offense," he said. "We have to fill some holes but overall we have some explosive players and that's exciting. If you have explosive players, you should have explosive plays."

When Sherman interviewed with the Dolphins he talked to coach Joe Philbin about what the ownership philosophy is in Miami. And Philbin convinced Sherman that Steve Ross is committed to winning a Super Bowl.

"I looked at tape when I was here and talked to Joe and wanted to know what the ownership philosophy was regarding the franchise and in the conversation with coach Philbin he was adamant about the fact that Mr. Ross wants to bring a Super Bowl, bring a Lombari Trophy to Miami. He's very passionate about that.

"So with that said, it was certainly a very telling statement, a convincing statement that led me to feel we have a chance to do that here with the current level we're able to add to this as well, and hopefully with our coaching we're able to do exactly what Mr. Ross wants to get done."

So I asked Sherman if he's thinking that in terms of years down the road or sooner than that.

"I never think much more than this year so next year or the following year, we're going to be as good as we can be this year," he said. "We'll see what happens and see how it goes. I don't think anyone would have picked the Giants necessarily to win the Super Bowl this year."

Short answer, Sherman doesn't see the Dolphins as a hopeless situation.

"No not at all," he said. "Not in the least."


Ryan Tannehill: The interview

Former Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill is working at the IMG Madden Football Academy in Bradenton, Florida to get ready for the Combine next week and his Pro Day the final week of March.

He discussed his recovery from a foot injury that has limited him this offseason. He is finally jogging again and said he'd be 100 percent by the time the Pro Day comes.

He discussed Mike Sherman, the  former A&M head coach who is now the Dolphins offensive coordinator.

He also discussed what he'll tell teams who pass on him in the first round of the April draft. Tannehill, 6-4 and 225 pounds, will be a first-rounder. He'd probably be a reach at No. 8 or No. 9 when Miami picks. But if the Dolphins don't address QB in free agency and don't trade up, he would be the most likely trade down option.

Listen to the interview:


BLOG NOTE: The Dolphins are making their coaching staff available to the media today at noon. I will tweet updates in real time from that availability, so follow me on twitter for that. And I will update this blog upon the conclusion of the availability with all the latest ... so come back.

February 15, 2012

Peyton Manning had unreported procedure and may need another surgery

Don Banks of Sports Illustrated reported today that Colts QB Peyton Manning has actually had three neck surgeries and another previously undisclosed 'procedure' that might or might not have been a surgery in a 19-month period rather than the three surgeries everyone has until today reported.

Banks also reported that Manning has potentially developed bone spurs above the point where the latest surgery fusion surgery occurred. And, in what was a sad narrative of an injured aging warrior trying to overcome his body's failings, Banks writes how Manning tried hard to get back on the field for at least one of the final two games of the season but failed.

Manning was so unable to be his old self in late December that he only worked on red zone offensive plays because he couldn't really complete a pass of more than 20-22 yards at the time. And even that attempt failed.

If this doesn't add another layer of concern to the actual state of Manning's health, I cannot fathom what else can. Interestingly, none of the pro-Manning media types over at ESPN have refuted the story or come to Manning's public relations defense. If that is to happen, it will happen Thursday.

So do Dolphins fans that have been super excited and advocating Manning's signing in case of his release remain in favor of the move?

I would say that it has been six weeks since that failed late December attempt by Manning to return. And by accounts he has improved his arm strength. Former Florida State and Carolina Panthers QB Chris Weinke said today on my radio show that when he had a similar surgery in the winter of 1998, he basically had to re-learn how to throw the football and that he was not ready for spring football in 1999.

Weinke did say he regain his strength by the following fall so he's told Manning to be encouraged by that.

But none of that makes a bone spur on the cervical spine requiring another surgery good news.

I'll continue to try and flush out as much of the story as I can. Banks, who I've know for nearly 30 years, will be on my radio, Armando and Perkins on Thursday at 9 a.m. You can listen on 640-AM in South Florida or watch the show by clicking the link to webcast right here starting at 6 a.m. You can also join the chat or call in toll free from anywhere in the United States.

Manning might not be available after all ... maybe

Throughout the ever expanding Peyton Manning saga, there's been one bothersome thought that has continued to hound my mind ... and my mind hasn't appreciated the overtime work.

ESPN reported a couple of weeks ago that Manning will be open to an incentive-laden contract in which he would be paid little or no guaranteed money up front with his new team and that he would have to earn every cent he makes strictly through performance.

That got me wondering if Manning would do that for his expected new team why wouldn't he do it for his old team -- you know, the Colts, the team for which he's played 14 seasons and is the face and heart and soul of the franchise?

Well, that's exactly what Manning might have the opportunity to do if you can believe Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay. Irsay spoke with the Indianapolis Star on Tuesday and made the point he wants Manning to return to the Colts as long as Manning restructures his contract.

"We can make it work if he wants to be here," Irsay told the Star. "We'd be excited to have him back and finish his career with us.

"I want him to be able to make the choice. We would love to have him back if he can get healthy and we can look at doing a contract that reflects the uncertainty of the ... healing process with the rengeneration of the nerve."

Suddenly, every team that fancies Manning has to feel a bit disappointed that the almost-certain divorce that seemed destined to happen by March 8th might not actually happen. Manning, as you probably have heard ad nauseum, is due a $28 million bonus on March 8 and if he's not paid that amount, he becomes a free agent.

The Colts have no intention of paying that bonus. But now they have put the ball in Manning's court, basically asking the quarterback to restructure his deal.

The proverbial ball is now in Manning's court. He can still refuse to restructure his contract and get out of Indy. But that would make him a villian in his own town. He can accept the restructure, but then he'll find himself on a team that is diminished by age and is no longer considered a Super Bowl contender -- even with Manning.

So that certain chase of Peyton Manning that everyone in Miami, Washington, and other NFL outposts that value the veteran may not happen. Assuming the worst for the Dolphins -- because that's what I've learned to do after the past decade of team history -- where does it leave them if their priority QB addition is no longer available?

It is funny to me that suddenly the talk of Manning's uncertain health situation has taken a back seat to where Manning is actually headed. Manning has undergone three neck surgeries in the past 20 months. He is waiting for the latest surgery to help nerves connecting to his triceps, which has suffered atrophy and was often numb as a result of the deadened nerves that the surgery was supposed to regenerate.

In rehabilitating from his cervical surgery, Manning has talked often to former FSU quarterback Chris Weinke who had a similar surgery in 1998 and sat out the end of the season before returning in 1999 to lead the Seminoles to the national title.

Weinke will be on Armando and Perk this morning at 8:30ish. You can watch the show here during the interview or anytime between 6-10 a.m.