Photos and VideosMore Photos and Videos
We're going to get into the Jets' pursuit of Peyton Manning in just a second, but let's talk about his farewell press conference in Indianapolis for just a moment.
It doesn't matter that, despite the feigned shock of many commentators, everyone knew this was coming and that it was the best thing for both Manning and the Colts, it's pretty strange to contemplate Peyton with anything other than a horseshoe on his helmet.
Sports legends switch teams all the time, but the fact that the Colts cut Manning, the most consistently excellent quarterback of the modern era, is still a moment to behold.
Leaving aside the details about how we got to this point, it's a pretty stark point being made about how sports -- all business, really -- is about what's next to the point that what came before barely matters. Peyton Manning was the Colts for every day of his time with the franchise and they just cut him without getting anything in return outside of space under the salary cap.
In the wise words of John Hughes via Ferris Bueller, life moves pretty fast. In that spirit, let's move on to discussing whether or not Peyton's next press conference will start with him holding up a green jersey with Rex Ryan guaranteeing a colony on Mars.
Are the Jets interested?
According to several reports, they waited about 19 seconds after Manning's press conference to make a call to find out if Manning is interested in them. The official transcript of the call reads "Does he like us or does he like like us?"
So, does he?
Julie Trocadero is going to pass him a note during biology, assuming she doesn't faint when they are dissecting frogs. Or, if you're looking for a real answer, we have no idea.
Why would he want to come to the Jets?
For all of their problems last season, the Jets were likely a good quarterback away from winning at least 10 games and going to the playoffs. There are some offensive pieces to like in Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller, there's a good defense with good coaches, the Jets have no offensive philosophy that would get in the way of letting Manning run the show his way and there are worse places to play than New York.
Why wouldn't he want to come to New York?
The offensive line was not good last year and players coming off three neck surgeries are probably interested in doing whatever they can to avoid having any more of them. Holmes and Keller aren't enough to run a great offense, playing outdoors in cold weather has never been Peyton's thing and other teams won't have to deal with the Patriots -- a white whale of sorts -- twice next season.
What are the positives for the Jets?
Besides the fact that he's Peyton Manning, you mean? The Jets can talk all they want about Ground and Pound, but the NFL is a league built on passing and they don't have a guy who can run that offense right now.
What are the negatives?
Leaving health aside, Manning is still 36 and his results weren't quite as robust in 2009 and 2010 as they had been in earlier seasons. Then there's the cost and the presence of Mark Sanchez.
Wouldn't signing him stop them from addressing other needs?
There's always a way to make things work under the cap, but, yes, the Jets would likely have to go with second-tier players at some spots if they were to sign Manning. He won a Super Bowl with second-tier players all over the field with the Colts, though, so it isn't like there's no way to make such a thing work.
What would you do with Sanchez?
He'd probably have to go in order to clear cap room, but you could conceivably keep him around as a backup to learn from Manning. The problem with moving on from Sanchez isn't that you'd be giving up too quickly on a quarterback who took you to two AFC Championship Games, though.
It would be the message that the Jets are once again sending that they don't have real plans or blueprints for success in the organization as much as they have the mentality of kids in a candy store who grab whatever is in reach for quick, temporary satisfaction. The fact that they would be radically shifting gears once again for Manning is actually high irony.
Manning's success story in Indy is one built around stability and a flawed but consistent plan to win by building the entire team around him. The Giants, Packers, Steelers, Patriots and other winning franchises have similar kinds of stability infused in the way they do business and the results bear out their methods.
The Jets haven't done that and going for Manning would just be the latest sign that they never will.