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I'm a salmon swimming upstream on the Manning issue

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Dolphins are going to chase Peyton Manning if he becomes available in free agency. That is already decided. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross loves the idea of Manning and has established him as the offseason quarterback priority.

Manning first.

Matt Flynn second.

Drafting a quarterback third.

The Dolphins see Manning as a way to win games, sell tickets and become relevant again. Within their circle of power, they think Manning can do for Miami what Joe Montana did for the Kansas City Chiefs in the early 1990s -- and if you don't remember, that included one failed trip to the AFC title game in Buffalo.

So why am I against the addition of Peyton Manning?

Let me count the ways:

He is a huge injury risk. Huge! I'm not so much worried about his neck, which has undergone three surgeries in the past 20 months and is clearly a big issue. I'm not worried that a Rex Ryan blitz or Vince Wilfork would catch Manning in precisely the wrong position and injure his cervical spine that has undergone three surgeries in less than two years. The risk of neck injuries are a fact of life for all NFL players.

I'm more concerned with Manning's much-discussed dead nerve condition that has affected his triceps in his throwing arm and has weakened his ability to throw. I was told Sunday that Manning's arm strength has diminished by as much as 40 percent as a result of the weakened triceps muscles. And I was told the issue wasn't just to the point where he can throw on game days, but there would be legitimate worry he can throw four or five times a week.

If you know Manning, you know he relies heavily on building an instinctive relationship with his receivers. He wants them to see what he sees. He wants to know how they run their routes and he wants them to know where he's likely to place the football. The only way to gain that is to throw to them -- a lot.

But there is doubt he could throw day after day even if his nerves regenerate because the muscles in his arm could fatigue more easily than they once did.

But put all that aside for a second. Seriously. Cast that to one side and suppose for a second that Manning's arm will eventually be capable of working about as well as it did when he was in his prime. The fact will remain he won't be in his prime with Miami.

He's 35 years old now and will be 36 next month. That's about the time Dan Marino started his precipitous and sudden decline. Montana, too. Troy Aikman was done by age 34. Steve Young was done by 38. Warren Moon had his last excellent season at 36 although he hung on a couple of more years, toiling in mediocrity.

The fact of the matter is if Peyton Manning plays in the NFL in 2012, he would be the second-oldest starting quarterback in the league and that assumes that Matt Hasselbeck will be starting for the Tennessee Titans -- something the Titans are prepared to change because former first-rounder Jake Locker will be coming into his second season and is the future in Tennessee.

So unless Hasselbeck wins a starting job, Manning might be the oldest starting QB in the NFL.

What about that fact suggests a long-term solution to Miami's quarterback troubles? Oh, that's right, nothing! 

The fact of the matter is if the Dolphins sign Peyton Manning it will be because they cannot solve their QB problem the tried and true way -- through the draft. They will have admitted they cannot identify a potential franchise QB at age 22 or 23 and have the conviction to draft that player, develop that player and win with that player for years and years. They will be saying they must instead take someone else's discarded quarterback, one whose best days are behind, and gamble he still has something left in the tank to serve Miami's desperation.

This is akin to treating a deep wound with a band aid. The band aid may stop some of the bleeding for a short time, but it will not help heal the wound. It will not keep the wound from becoming infected. The Dolphins quarterback situation is a deep, deep wound. And the only way to heal the hurt is finding a player that can fill the spot and play it at a high level for the next 7 or 8 years, not the next year or two ... maybe.

Now, I understand the allure of Manning. You see the possibility and think the Dolphins would be adding Manning in his prime. You see the possibility and think he would make the Dolphins instant contenders and get them to the playoffs. It is a gleaming vision of the possibilities.

I say to you all that shiny stuff reflecting in your eyes is fool's gold. The Dolphins have been down this road before. Four years ago, having no answer at quarterback, the Dolphins turned to often-injured Chad Pennington who fell to them like a blessing from the sky.

And it was good for one season. Pennington's great play led the Dolphins to the 2008 AFC East championship. It was fun. But it was fleeting.

NFL games have a way of finding a man's weakness and Pennington's surgically repaired shoulder was eventually exposed just as Manning's injury will eventually be exposed. And when that happened, the Dolphins were left right back where they started -- looking desperately for a franchise quarterback that they didn't spend a high enough draft pick to select.

(The fact Pennington helped Miami to an 11-5 record also pushed the team well to the back of the pack in the ensuing year's draft.)

That's what would happen if Manning comes to Miami. If Manning signs, the pressure will be on to win now. We'll be in win-now mode even though the coach is new and has a bit of a honeymoon period coming. He will have to produce and general manager Jeff Ireland will have to surround Manning with as much talent to win now as possible.

That means addressing must-haves -- like a right tackle and a pass-rusher. That probably means not drafting a quarterback in the first round because Matt Moore is still under contract and that, along with Manning, is enough use of resources at one position.

So, again, the Dolphins will return to all-in mode with a quarterback that needs to be in that mode because his time is running out. Except the rest of the Dolphins roster isn't ready to be all-in. The rest of the Miami roster needs significant upgrade along the right side of the offensive line, at tight end, on the defensive line and possibly in the secondary where a nickel corner and free safety are needs.

It simply does not fit. And so, I predict, if the Dolphins go with Manning, they may have some short-term gain (at best) but have again set themselves up for more long-term pain -- like 2008 and the years that followed. History repeating.

I know, I know, many of you are all in on Manning. If he comes in and wins a division title, you'll be happy with that. Some of you think he might even win a Super Bowl in Miami in his declining years even though he won only one in 14 years with Indianapolis while he was in his prime. (I admire your ability to dream.)

Me? Give me a free agent chase of a great pass rusher. Give me a trade-up for Robert Griffin III or the selection of whatever rookie QB the personnel department gets most comfortable with. Give me the signing of 27 year-old Matt Flynn even. Get me some more improving and building for the long haul. Get me the short-term pain in exchange for the long-term gain.

I know I'm in the minority. I am like a salmon swimming upstream and the Miami plan and the Miami fans are big brown bears waiting in the middle of the flow to swallow me because of my opinion.

That's fine. Let's talk in two or three years when we're right back where we started and you're screaming for a young QB and a new coach and a new GM -- again.

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Would be a big risk, Flynn is also, but hopefully the new coach has the best insight hetre. Likely better to start fresh.

learn form the Giants & 49ers. Build on D! We have a better offense already than the 49ers

Somewhere near the front.

Montana did fine with Peterson's KC team because he was merely old- he wasn't coming off three surgeries!

"Some of you think he might even win a Super Bowl in Miami in his declining years when he won only one in 14 years with Indianapolis while he was in his prime. (I admire you ability to dream.)"

My sentiments exactly.

We already have 2 great QBs on our roster: Chad Henne and Matt Moore. The stink of the Fins organization has held Henne back. He is Steve Young. Witness Wes Welker and countless others who have left the stinky fins to be great elsewhere.

Mark my words: if we lose Henne, you will see him starting and doing very, very well on another team.

Why does one think if they get Manning, they also won't draft a QB in this draft to groom ?

As for Henne, he stinks.

I don't see what the problem is. You give Manning a short-term, incentive based contract and draft a QB. It's a low-risk high-reward, because you'd still have Matt Moore as your backup. Moore would be the de facto starter this year w/o Manning, so I don't see the issue.

Mustache Man = Carol Henne, Chads Mom.

I will not be naming any captains for the Jets next season. In fact, there will be no names or numbers on any uniforms. Also, I have bigger boobs than my wife. Thank you, that is all.

Why do you assume that they won't sign Manning AND draft a QB? That seems like easily the most logical thing to do...

I guess in that case, that's a reasonable assumption after all. We are dealing with the Dolphins here.

What about the possibility of signing Manning and drafting your QB of the future in the 2nd round? The likelihood of moving up to get RG3 is pretty low, and there are risks going after Flynn. Also, if Manning gets hurt, having Moore ready to step in doesn't seem so bad. So, why not draft a pass rusher in the 1st round or even a big-play receiver, then grab a QB and other areas of need in the subsequent rounds? Seems like a reasonable strategy for both short and long term success.

Why Dolphin fans think every over hill player holds the magic of their younger years. As players get older their skills wane.

I usually don't agree with much of what you say Armando, but in this case, you are spot on. I want someone who will give us a good 7-10 year run. We've suffered two years, so why not 1 or 2 more.

im done with armondo. youre always trashing decisions not even made yet. never a positive spin from you. good riddance

Wow, this is eeringly similar to the Culpepper/Brees offseason decision. Makes me wonder what has this franchise done to offend the football gods?

Heaven forbids, it seems no matter what decision this franchise makes, it seems to be the wrong. If we grab Peyton, Flynn will be the next Drew Brees. Grab Flynn and Manning wins his 2nd sb somewhere else and Flynn struggles with us.

I think this entire franchise needs to go into confession. The football gods must be appeased! LOL

this is a MORONIC post FROM SOMEONE who doesn't understand the game of football and business sad for someone who has been involved in the game so long. In fact you should almost be FIRED

Bye, ray (1:08 PM). You'll be missed. I don't know how this blog will survive without you.

Mando, I agree with you. My preference is for RG3 also. But how does that actually happen? People ask me that all the time, and in all honesty, it's a huge risk (to even get that player). He won't come cheap, and even if Miami is willing to give up the World, they STILL might not get him.

Then what?

As far as Flynn, why's he less of a risk than Manning? I don't see Miami getting Flynn AND drafting a QB. So, if Flynn doesn't work in the next couple of years, aren't we right back at the start?

Totally agree though that the BEST way is through the Draft. They need to have the will, pick the player they feel will be a franchise QB, and do anything/everything to get him. Yes, still a risk, but the reward is much greater as well.

It's a very sticky situation. No sure bets.

Ray, Armando is the sports equilvant of "The O'Reily Factor", This is a "No Spin Zone".

Great article, but as others have said, getting Manning on an incentive-based contract is far from an all-or-nothing solution. The 2-year stay of execution that he could give the franchise could be just the time needed to get a 2nd round draft quarterback up to speed and ready to fight when Manning eventually breaks. Sounds perfectly reasonable and relatively cost-effective from where I'm standing.

Armando..I have to disagree. You make some very good points. I just can't imagine that the FO would go after any free agent that could be injured to the point they can't throw. Wouldn't there be test after test to show exactly where Manning was in his rehabilitation? I know this regime has yet to prove they can do much right. But this one would take the cake..(Should we aquire Manning knowing he is not 100 percent)

I know there are going to be many opinions on Mannings health. One doctor may say he is good to go, another may say he will never be 100 percent again. My point has been I don't think Manning will play if he knows his neck is an issue, or the nerves that conect with his throwing arm will hinder him in any way.

The point about him being a stop-gap is fine with me. Some act like we will not ever be able to groom a guy if we do aquire Peyton. We have read that Manning would agree to a performance structured contract. A contract that will not kill a team salary cap wise. If this is indeed the truth..I think it would be a major error in judgement to pass in favor of a trade up. I'm on the fence with Flynn. The system familairity is intriguing. The fact he could run 100 percent of the offense day 1 cannot be overlooked. The other stuff about starts, and who is this guy is a little scary. I just think if you can get a healty Peyton..You do it.

I think this entire franchise needs to go into confession. The football gods must be appeased! LOL
Posted by: Yesterday's Gone | February 06, 2012 at 01:09 PM

YG, How about a human sacrafice?, I vote Jeff Ireland, Your opionion would this appease the Football Gods?

Droopy Dog (Ross) needs to worry less about ticket sales and more about building a solid team...the ticket thing will take care of itself if the team wins. Quit the 'marketing' angle to everything. Good teams sell themselves.

I said this yesterday and folks called me a moron.
Anyone would love to have Manning on their team, but No I don't think it's priority One, and it is a temporary fix. Manning at best is a rental, and at worst is a liability - injured permantly and we're back to QB back-up fillin-ins for the remainder of the season.
If I'm hoping, i'm hoping for Manning plus a top drafted QB to study under him for a year or two, and several key holes filled by either FA or draft. But since that's dubious, I'll stick with Manning as priority #3.

Jeff I.,

A nickname must not be a very good nickname if you have to explain who you are talking about in a parenthetical note after the nickname. Please keep this in mind for the future.

I agree. Peyton Manning sounds like a Daunte Culpepper, Trent Green, and Chad Pennington all over again.

I would rather try our at RGIII, or a second rounder QB.

Yep...you are in the minority....GIVE ME MANNING AND HOPE!!!

Ross looks at the Manning possibility more as a marketing scheme rather than whether its a good for the direction of a winning team. He views Manning like the carny views the bearded lady. More Business! Until he changes that way of operating a sports franchise, this team will struggle.

FP4FGs....That is hillarious. Well done.

RG III: Thats the best option, but the price tag will prob be to high. But I'd love to see it happen

Flynn: Are you kidding me? The guy had one good game. Investing alot in him is a recipe for disaster. (see: AJ Feeley, Rob Johnson)

If they do get Manning, and Moore is still under contract, why not grab B. Weeden in the 3rd or 4th round? Yea, he's 28, but he might be the most NFL ready QB in the draft. Good arm, an make all the throws, and I'll assume a little more mature than your average rookie. Should have a good 5-7 years in him.

And then use the 1st round pick on a right tackle. Reiff or Martin. Either one is an immediate upgrade over Colombo. Actually a cardboard cutout of either guy is an upgrade over Colombo

don't think anyone outside of ross want's manning here,hopefully that includes that baglicker ireland!total step backwards longterm,isn't that obvious! if they sign him i'm looking for a new team!

I'm swimming upstream with you. Bring in some new blood who we can build a team around.

Guy's, Here's the Question, Can he throw the Ball? If he can do it at 90% of what he's done before he's still better then Henne and Moore.. put together. JMHO

Sign Deshawn Jackson, Vincent Jackson, Jermichael Finley so WR or TE playmaker

FA should be used on G, CB, S.

just my opinion...

Spiderman | February 06, 2012 at 11:14 AM

I would sign Jermicheal Finley in a heart beat and he would be the player I target 1st when FA opens for business. He plays in an O with a ton of talent so he maybe doesn't get the recognition of some of the others and was hurt in G.B.'s 2010 Title run but make no mistake this guy is as ELITE as any of the T.E.'s playing today.

Vincent Jackson (drunk/legal issues) and Deshawn Jackson (immature cry baby) are CANCERS and the last thing you want is to add one of these to the WR corp. when you already have B.Marsh. on that unit. Then target OL in FA these players are always the best fits through FA for my money and conventional wisdom says start with Bills OT Demetrius Bell, he's flying high under the radar and the notoriously cheap Ralph Wilson owned Bills won't break the bank.

Some will argue OG Carl Nicks from N.O. but his teamate Jahri Evans got a 7 Yr. 58 Mil. extension last year and it's believed Nicks who is every bit his equal believes he deserves the same and I for one won't commit over 9 Mil a Yr. on an OG. I will although give everybody some out of the box thinking here, why not Texans Center Chris Myers?? Everybody forget that Mike Pouncey was considered an ELITE LG at the Univ. of Fla. and only played Center after his twin Marquis skipped his Sr. year??

In this scenario you kick Pouncey out to the LG spot next to J.Long with Myers who is a great zone blocker in the run game at Center with Incognito, Carey and Jerry fighting it out along the Right side for the Guard spot and further on going battles with Carey, Jerry and even Murtha at RT, with hopefully the more fleet footed of the trio J.Jerry winning out.

In my book we then play wait and see with the QB position NO Wannstedt like knee jerk reactions please, weigh the DAMN options and yes Manning is one of them while drafting a young QB, just a thought also don't loose sight of Micheal Bush as a workhorse RB who is an UFA this year. You can then take your Pass rusher in the draft or best available in our positions of NEED and for GOD sakes if a talent like Blackmon falls there by some chance don't hesitate!

WRONG! We need to sign Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn. They can share QB duties so that Peyton's arm doesn't get too tired. Then we give St. Louis whatever draft picks they want so we can draft RG3 and Flynn and Manning can groom him. We'll have to cut Matt Moore. Still, we need to get better on defense. I'd like to see us trade Philip Merling to the Giants for Jason Pierre-Paul.

would rather try our at RGIII, or a second rounder QB.
Posted by: Dolfdan13 | February 06, 2012 at 01:19 PM

Danny, Shame on you, You know the Dolphins are cursed for life with 2nd round picks., Think Man, THINK.

Chad! Stop posting comments under the pseudonym "Mustache man"!

STOP THE MANNING MADNESS.

This is such a "Jets" move.

The guy is DONE.

This is another foolish errand. We want a team that gets to the Super Bowl every year. Not once. GET THE RIGHT QB....be patient and build a CULTURE. This is not a team-building move. It's a swing at the fence.

In RE to bringing in Manning and then drafting a guy in the 2nd to devlop...I think Armondo addressed this fairly well.

There is an opportunity cost in such a scenario. If they were to draft a QB in the 2nd to develop, they forgo the opportunity to use a relatively high draft pick on someone that could potentially make an immediate impact for a team that would most definitely be in "win now" mode.

Drafting a QB in the 2nd would provide for ZERO immediate impact for a team in "win now" mode....which is why they wouldn't do this if they were to land Manning....and this is why we would be right back to this point again in another 2-3 years tops.

I agree with Mustache man. The Dolphins always get rid of great players, and great coaches too.

WRONG! We need to sign Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn. They can share QB duties so that Peyton's arm doesn't get too tired. Then we give St. Louis whatever draft picks they want so we can draft RG3 and Flynn and Manning can groom him. We'll have to cut Matt Moore. Still, we need to get better on defense. I'd like to see us trade Philip Merling to the Giants for Jason Pierre-Paul.
Posted by: Typical Miami fan | February 06, 2012 at 01:27 PM

LMAO.

FP4FGs you are right.

Draft one in the 3rd round then.

You tell 'em Dave!

I agree with Dave and Tony.

Tony,

Please step into my office. And take off your socks and shoes.

Guys, and I'm pointing the finger at myself here too. Just because you SAY the team should do this or that, doesn't mean it's as easy to do as saying you want it done.

They might want Flynn, and be outbid. They might want RG3, but can't move up to get him. They might want Manning, but he doesn't pass a physical.

The smart move here, is to take EVERY opportunity to upgrade the QB position. That means Manning + Flynn/Drafted QB, or Flynn + Drafted QB. Worst of all possibilities is what happened last year. We passed on a few options, then were too late to the dance, and ended up with Kyle Orton asking for a zillion dollars as our only option.

Let's not skimp on our most important position. If we overpay, or get more than we want, it's ok, QBs are valuable, have a lot of resale value. I'd rather get more than I need then less (at that particular position).

be patient and build a CULTURE. This is not a team-building move. It's a swing at the fence.

Posted by: josephus | February 06, 2012 at 01:29 PM

Joey, That train left the terminal 16 years ago. When God left the team.

OK Rex, but can I leave my dark glasses on?

Let's think about this, if the Dolphins pick up Manning and draft a QB that think has star potential and groom him behind Manning for a couple of years what is the big deal. I think they have every intention of trying to find someone to develop behind Manning, the FO would be stupid not to.

WHY can't we just sign every free agent QB and draft every possible rookie QB? We can groom them all at the same time. In the meantime, they can play other positions on the roster, like receiver or long snapper or something. We can do all sorts of crazy plays like flea flickers and crap if every guy on the field was a QB.

DC Dolfan..Great point. Folks seem to forget there are other teams out there that also need QB's..Nothing is automatic. I think in the case of last year the team wanted to go with Henne just so they could have some closure. He was going to establish himself, or drown. We can put that chapter behind us now...Henne IMO was the reason we moved like a snail in our QB search..Add that the first round quarterbacks were again IMO not worthy of trading up for(minus Cam..but that was not an option). IN hindsight we could have gone with Dalton. But at the time he wasn't graded as a first round selection...

Either option, we're gonna lose something.

If you get Manning, then it's win-now, so spending a high-draft pick on another QB is unlikely.

If you get RG3, then you've mortgaged the future on him (in money and draft picks, hindering the team you build around him in the future).

If you get Flynn, they you've likely given up a large amount of money to land him (hurting your cap space).

QBs don't come cheap, yet are a necessary evil to every successful team in the NFL.

Decision isn't between which option will hurt you the least. Decision should be which option gives you the likeliest competitive team for years to come and then the question becomes (how do we make this decision come to fruition).

Let's think about this, if the Dolphins pick up Manning and draft a QB that think has star potential and groom him behind Manning for a couple of years what is the big deal. I think they have every intention of trying to find someone to develop behind Manning, the FO would be stupid not to.
Posted by: Freezin' in NY | February 06, 2012 at 01:38 PM

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It's not about being stupid or not....it's about opportunity cost. If they bring in Manning, they have a 3 year window to "win now"....you do not do that by tying up draft picks for positions that won't help you "win now"....those picks will be used to add talent that could potentially have an immediate impact on the field.....not an impact in 3 years.

If they go Manning, they are in "win now"....simple as that. Unfortunately, I don't see the Phins as being a "Manning" away from the playoffs/SB contention.....especially not a Manning that is 60% of his old self. He will be a mere shadow of his former self.

Enjoyed Fin4life post. Not knowledgable enough to comment on the opinion, but at least it wasn't just griping and negativity. I would like to see Miami act intelligently and not emotionally. I agree with Armando

Clearly, the lowly Dolphins are desperate for anything to get fans in the stands. Pathetic franchise.

Salguero, I am also in the "minority" group that doesn't think Payton Manning would be good for the Miami Dolphins. Actually, I can't believe he is being considered at all, much less that he is the Dolphins first option. I don't think Flynn is worth as much as some say he would be worth either. I wouldn't give more than a third round draft pick for him. What has he accomplished so far to deserve a very high price? What makes him any better than Moore? In the absence of success in trying to get Griffin III, Moore is probably their best bet this year, assuming they can get at least another good TE and build up their offensive line. Which brings me to the 64 million question: What would be wrong with Moore if he had a "real" star wide receiver (certainly not Brandon Marshall) and two good TE's?

And you will be the first person to jump all over this front office is they don't sign him and the jet's win a super bowl with him. why oh why do i keep reading your crap?

WHY can't we just sign every free agent QB and draft every possible rookie QB? We can groom them all at the same time. In the meantime, they can play other positions on the roster, like receiver or long snapper or something. We can do all sorts of crazy plays like flea flickers and crap if every guy on the field was a QB.
Posted by: Typical Miami fan | February 06, 2012 at 01:41 PM

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I totally agree....I was also thinking we should probably trade this years 1st and next years 1st....I mean whatever it takes to Denver for Tim Tebow. I was thinking what a fine linebacker he would make in a 4-3 and we could also use him in a "wildcat" type formation on offense. Maybe he could even play TE....I mean, I really think we'd be getting a lot of bang for our buck here and most likely would be immediate SB contenders.

Guys Tell me one player that helped "GROOM" another player to take over his job?, It's almost laughable.COME ON MAN.

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