By Jason Keidel
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There are about ten reasons not to bring Peyton Manning to the Jets, and about seven are sound. Let’s cut some fat first.
Don’t worry about Mark Sanchez’s feelings. He’s paid millions to play football, and if that means hugging a clipboard while a 4-time NFL MVP takes some snaps, so be it.
Money won’t be the most pressing issue. If you’ve got $150 million in your wallet, why would $5 million kill the deal? (Besides, one commercial with Justin Timberlake in Times Square would make the nut.)
The Jets’ roster isn’t the problem, either. All of the teams lusting for Peyton are weak. And they’re weak because they don’t have a great quarterback. The last four starters in the Super Bowl were Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and Tom Brady. That’s eight rings right there, with eleven trips to the dance in all.
Yet Craig Carton rattled off many reasons to rebuff Peyton Manning, and I checked “Yes” next to most. Among them, however, was the assertion that Mark Sanchez has done more in his first three years than just about any QB in history.
Brady won the Super Bowl his first year as a starter. Kurt Warner won the Super Bowl his first year as a starter. Joe Montana won the Super Bowl his second year as a starter. (Each rode the pine his rookie season.) Troy Aikman, Joe Namath, Roethlisberger and, yes, Eli won one in their fourth seasons. So we need a little perspective before scribbling Sanchez into the history books.
But while Carton overstates Sanchez’s gravitas (while admitting he’s the quarterback’s friend), the sentiment is solid. Mark Sanchez’s résumé earns him the helm for at least two more years. Two trips to the AFC title game and being ten years Peyton’s junior are enough to close the case for No. 6.
Why blow your bank on Peyton Manning? His bona fides as an icon are obvious, and he’s better than Brett Favre. (Yes, I said it.) But as we saw with Favre, New York has a way of eating up rentals. (Need we list them?)
Combine Peyton Manning’s age, wage, unprecedented turns under the knife for neck pain, and his nearly painful sense of privacy and you’ve got a cluster of maladies, none of which would be cured by Gang Green.
Archie Manning has told everyone who will listen that Eli was, is, and will always be better suited for America’s media vortex than Peyton. How many Super Bowl-winning sons must Archie make before you start believing him?
And now you want them to share a locker? Two Mannings in the Meadowlands has a Kardashian feel to it, replete with reality television, paparazzi, and questions from folks who watch a lot more futbol than football.
The axiom in team sports is to build from the bottom, which means drafting right and sprinkling your roster with free agents. You don’t buy a 2,000-pound marlin from another boat and call it your own; fish the waters and catch one yourself. No doubt the Patriots got lucky with Brady in the sixth round, but they did get him. Five years ago, with the proper cash and coddling, you might make this deal. But then again, a 30-year-old Manning wouldn’t be available. Just ask Eli.
Sure, Brett Favre came within a whisker of leading the Vikings to the Super Bowl. But he lost, extending a pretty clear template. Try naming an NFL team that spent their cap space on a 36-year-old free agent QB and won a ring. Let us know what you find in those waters.
Feel free to email me: Keidel.firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you think the Jets should go all in for Peyton? Join the debate in the comments below…