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Mar 7, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (left) speaks during a press conference as owner Jim Irsay looks on during a press conference to announce Manning

Manning Officially Out In Indy

It’s nice to be writing about something other than Gregg Williams and bounties, and although I wanted to get back to the Combine Reports tonight, I decided against it. I will be out of town over the weekend covering the Illinois High School Class 1A and 2A state boys basketball tournaments, so instead of posting one tonight and taking a break, I thought it better to wait until next week to get back to it. Lucky for me, something pretty significant happened in the NFL world on Wednesday, so let’s talk about that. Although we have known officially for days and unofficially for months, the Indianapolis Colts released QB Peyton Manning. I thought having a press conference with both sides speaking about it was a little weird, but I guess they all handled it pretty well.

The Rams won’t be in the Manning sweepstakes, but this move still greatly affects the upcoming season for St. Louis. Bernie Miklasz talked about this over at STLtoday.com, which kind of sucks for me because I had already started writing this before I saw it, but I’m going to continue anyway because it’s a pretty big deal. Bernie talks a lot about how it will affect the draft, which is a very valid point. Washington and Miami are both major players for Manning, and they are both trade targets for the Rams as well. However, I’m still holding out hope that the Rams deal with Cleveland and their two first-round picks, so I’m not going to discuss that aspect right now.

What really has me concerned is that Manning could end up in the NFC West next season. The Seahawks and Cardinals have both contacted Manning’s reps already according to sources, so they will both be in on him when the bidding starts. For as much as I question how good Manning will be when he comes back to the field, it scares the heck out of me that he could face the Rams twice a season. He’s never going to be what he once was, but would he be an upgrade over Tarvaris Jackson or Kevin Kolb? I’m not even going to type the answer, because it’s a no-brainer. The one thing that makes our division so winnable is because there isn’t a franchise quarterback on any of the teams we compete with. Before anyone brings up Alex Smith, one good season does not a franchise QB make. I still think Sam Bradford can be a franchise guy, so that could be our edge going forward. But adding Manning to any other team completely changes the dynamic of the West.

I don’t know if the Rams have a chance to win the division this season, and I know the 49ers are very good, but I would think that if anyone gets Manning and he’s even close to healthy, that team instantly becomes the favorite. We have an uphill battle to fight anyway, so let’s hope Manning stays east so the climb is just difficult and not impossible.

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Tags: 2012 NFL Draft Alex Smith Arizona Cardinals Bernie Miklasz Bounty Cleveland Browns Colts Release Manning Gregg Williams Indianapolis Colts Kevin Kolb Miami Dolphins NFC West NFL Peyton Manning Sam Bradford San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks St. Louis Rams STLtoday.com Tarvaris Jackson Washington Redskins

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