After 14 years, the Indianapolis Colts will release all-pro quarterback Peyton Manning. Last season the Colts suffered through a long 2-14 season while rotating between two QBs as Manning recovered from multiple neck surgeries. On Tuesday, the Colts made the tough decision to cut ties with Manning and allow him to sign with any team starting March 13. The Colts are now looking toward the future and using the number one overall pick in the draft on Stanford QB Andrew Luck.
In 1998, the Colts used the number one overall pick on Manning, beginning the most historic era in franchise history. In his time with the Colts, Manning was selected to 11 Pro Bowls, was a 4 time MVP and had a Super Bowl victory in two appearances. He ends his Colts career as the franchise's all-time leader in all major QB categories.
The teams expected to reach out to Manning are the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. The teams that will make the strongest push will be the Dolphins and Cardinals. Manning has recently said that he will go to the team with the best chance at winning a championship in the next year or two. With that being said, I think his best decision is to join the Cardinals.
Joining the Cardinals gives Manning the best chance at winning a championship in the near future. As we saw when they had Kurt Warner at QB they are a great QB away from a Super Bowl appearance. Now if they can get an elite QB like Manning, there is nothing stopping them from winning a Super Bowl. Giving him an elite receiver in Larry Fitzgerald and an up and coming running back in Beanie Wells, they could become one of the top offenses in the league. Like the Colts, the Cardinals are a dome team to give him a comfortable environment. They even have their 2012 schedule to offer, as they play 10 teams that had eight or fewer wins last season.
The only flaw the Cardinals have is their offensive line, but that can be easily and cheaply fixed in the draft with their pick at number 13. The Cardinals offer him great stadium conditions with a dome, an easy schedule and the best win-now roster. The choice is simple; the Cardinals offer everything he could ever want in a team at the end of his career.