Could Peyton Manning be heading out west? I would hope so, but the timing and secrecy have got me thinking. I have been glued to my phone, computer and television since free agency opened up and had paid some attention to the Peyton story, but was more concerned with what the 49ers were doing and teams in our division. Just the other night, I argued that the 49ers were going to stick with Alex Smith to keep the chemistry. Only to find the headline, “Manning Works out for Niners”, I was stunned as were so many others that this happened. With the media frenzy around, how does one miss Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman and it remains quiet for three days. I am a little skeptical of the reports on this one and here are some points to think about before we get too worked up over these Mad Times.
First, I look at what has been said by people who know Peyton and the family. Quotes like, “He will not play in the NFC”, “Does not want to take away from his brother in New York”, ” Won’t play his brother for any title other than the Super Bowl”. If you have been watching what is going on, this has been what has eliminated many teams from even getting consideration. Washington was forced out of the discussion early and traded the farm for RG3, while the Jets paid ridiculous cash to Mark Sanchez. So if you look at the situation for the 49ers who have not publicly confirmed or denied the reports, this could be a way to put pressure on the 49ers with Alex Smith. While both Peyton and Alex have the same agent, you have to look at all the possibilities to get the most money possible for the client and by putting a slight strain on the relationship, could often cost some money in negotiations. One possibility now is Peyton stays in the AFC and Alex is given a sweeter deal to mend the relationship. Or he could look elsewhere leaving the 49ers with a very raw quarterback in Colin Kaepernick.
Second, I know towards the end of the season Coach Harbaugh was not 100 percent committed to Alex as he would often say, ”We are always looking to improve our ball club.” It was not until the season was over and things had settled a bit that Coach was all in with Alex. It was just a matter of time before he signed. Now Alex is free to see what offers he can get and the longer the 49ers are in the hunt for Peyton, the more volatile the situation will become. Should the 49ers lose both Manning and Smith, this could be a major blow to Coach Harbaugh and everything he has done to get this team to believe in him. I believe the Coach has been upfront with Alex and the team, but when you commit to someone and then go a different direction there is always a lot of explaining to do.
Now let’s look at if Peyton were to come to SF despite what others are saying, and what he may truly covet, which is another Super Bowl title. The 49ers have the best team available of those being considered. Yes, he would have to get over the fact that he would keep his brother from the big game but he would have a team capable of multiple Super Bowls. The team is young and has many key guys signed for 3 plus years, not to mention an offensive line that has jelled as a unit and can offer plenty of protection as well as a power running game. This would also give Manning an opportunity to play with Randy Moss fueling the competitive fire to out duel Tom Brady. Should the defense that returns all its starters from last year gives Peyton the field position Alex was afforded, you can expect a lot of points to be put on the board possibly record breaking numbers and not for most field goals.
Should Peyton choose not to join the 49ers, Alex could make a whole lot of ‘we wanted you all along’ money or he could say ‘Seattle has been trying to get me’ and ‘I want to go to a team that seems to really want me.’
While football is a business and you could be wanted for many reasons, one being to hurt an opponent. Heck, the 49ers by talking to Peyton made Arizona pay Kevin Kolb by prolonging Peyton’s decision. If Alex remained with the 49ers, I would expect all parties to move forward rather quickly and get ready for another run at a Super Bowl. If Alex were to leave it could get very messy.
By Mike Zamora
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