The Denver Broncos, Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers are the last three teams left in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes and are expecting him to make a decision by Tuesday. All three teams have made a strong pitch for Manning’s services but what will be the deciding factor for Manning in his search for a new team?
Of the three teams still in the running, the Broncos have the most money to throw at Manning. With the Indianapolis Colts opting not to pay Manning the $28 million bonus he was scheduled to make, money could be a big factor in his decision.
Especially since his contract is going to have a lot of incentives and benchmarks in it. Despite how well Manning has thrown for teams in workouts they are still going to want to protect themselves against Manning suffering another injury.
The benchmarks will probably revolve around how much time he plays rather than what kind of statistics he posts so it won’t matter what type of offense he plays in. Insurance for Manning will be high though and since Manning is paying for that himself he will want to get as much upfront and guaranteed money as he can get.
But money isn’t everything and a competitor like Manning wants to win. Although he isn’t keen on the idea of playing in the same conference as his little brother Eli, he does want to catch (and overtake) his brother in the championship department. His brother is a head 2-to-1 in Super Bowl wins.
And with that in mind, his best bet would be to sign with the 49ers. They have the most complete team, the best defense and it doesn’t hurt that they were only a few plays away from a Super Bowl berth last season.
The 49ers won 13 games last season by playing super-stingy defense, not turning the ball over and making just enough plays on offense to win. With Manning running the offense this team becomes just as dominating on offense as it was defensively last year.
And if Manning can come in and give the 49ers big leads to work with then it won’t be necessary for him to play the whole game; a perfect scenario to get reps for Christian Ponder.
Then there is always the third option of staying in the AFC South division so he can play the Colts twice a year.
Although that sounds interesting and the Titans could be Super Bowl contenders with Manning and a few more pieces, it’s doubtful that Manning would waste his last couple of years in the league seeking revenge against his old team. I would leave something like that to someone more petty like say Brett Farve.
No Manning wants a situation that will best help cement his legacy as one of the greatest to ever play the game. That’s why he allowed the 49ers to come into the game so late and that may ultimately be what causes him to sign with them. Oh and the nice weather doesn’t hurt either.
Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2. He is also a Sports Reporter for Pro Sports Lives. He can be contacted at RHall_TPFB@Yahoo.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.