NFL free agency is approximately three ways away, but we are also just a little bit closer to eventually figuring out the fate of Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning. While free agency gets going on March 13, the Colts have until March 8 to decide whether or not they will exercise a $28 million option bonus on Manning. He is coming off numerous surgeries and the Colts are looking at Andrew Luck with the number one overall pick. Suffice to say there are some issues to resolve.
Over at National Football Post, Dan Pompei wrote that some of the buzz around the league is that the Seattle Seahawks could be the front-runner for Manning if he is released. Nobody has legally been allowed to talk to Manning, so for now it is likely based as much on the current situation in Seattle and the assumption that they would in fact be interested in Manning if he was available:
Pete Carroll needs a quarterback and is believed to have a strong interest in at least exploring Manning ... They have a young team with some fine skill players to put around him. They play in one of the league's loudest stadiums. Manning wouldn't be subject to the same kind of scrutiny in Seattle that he would in a lot of other markets. The Seahawks also could have a better feel for Manning's medical situation than some teams. One of their team physicians, Stan Herring, who also is one of the country's preeminent specialists for spine injuries. Herring is a member of the NFL's Head, Neck and Spine Committee.
I don't think the market scrutiny is really a big issue. Given how the NFL operates at this point, the scrutiny surrounding Manning will be high no matter where he ends up. Seattle may not be a New York or Boston type of market, but they have plenty of diehards and the national media would still scrutinize him plenty.
If the Seahawks were to add Manning, they could take a significant step forward in 2012, assuming Manning is healthy and gets his arm strength back. They have health question marks with guys like Sidney Rice, but there is some very solid talent on that time, pending free agency.
If the Seahawks were to sign Peyton Manning, what does that mean in terms of NFC West competition?