Let me start by saying I think John Elway, Pat Bowlen and friends did the right thing by essentially trading Tim Tebow for Peyton Manning. It’s a no-brainer but not a no-risker. I said it on my show yesterday if Manning is 8o percent the quarterback he was prior to the 2011 season the Broncos still get one of the games best.
My hunch is the Bronco brass didn’t see greatness (or maybe even “averageness”) in Tebow’s future and the chance to bring Manning to Mile high made perfect sense. Doctors tell us Manning’s neck is fine, reports tell us he’s regaining arm strength and looks comfortable throwing the football.
The downside on this bold move is the 36 candles on Peyton’s birthday cake. A wise man once said Father Time is undefeated. Brett Favre had one of his best seasons and was second in the MVP voting at age 40 but that’s the exception. Those late 30′s years are usually going, going, gone times for NFL stars.
Knees, shoulders, hamstrings and several other body parts have a way of screaming “enough is enough!” when NFL players hit their late 30′s. Heaven forbid if Peyton’s neck doesn’t allow him to see the field like he once did and his arm suddenly becomes NFL average. Or maybe this guy who never missed a game starts missing 4 to 6 a season.
But don’t bet on it , a new beginning can inspire 30 something players. Rod Woodson came to Baltimore as a free agent and was 36 when he was fitted for a Super Bowl ring. Rich Gannon signed with the Raiders and became a league MVP when he was 37. Deion Sanders played free agent hop-scotch in his 30′s and made teams better.
Will Manning exceed Reggie White and Drew Brees as the greatest free agent signings of all-time? I doubt it but if he can give Denver 3 solid years and take them to a Super Bowl he’ll be worth every penny of this bold Broncos move. This might turn out to be the best move Denver’s made since they stole John Elway from Baltimore.
We’ll get to see Denver’s new quarterback, the Bronco’s are on the Ravens 2012 home schedule.