December 15, 2019

Is Peyton Manning the answer at quarterback for the Washington Redskins?

According to multiple reports (and how could you miss them if you follow the team), the Washington Redskins will make an “aggressive effort” to sign quarterback Peyton Manning now that he and the Indianapolis Colts have formally parted ways.

Is this a good idea?

As The Washington Post‘s Dan Steinberg so nimbly pointed out, there’s no lack of opinion on the subject. There are many layers to this unfolding story, so we’ll try to lay them out in an orderly fashion.

First, it’s all about Manning’s health. His neck surgery is well-documented at this point, and the only doctors that have seen him are those under the employ of the Colts. There have been reports of a lack of arm strength from eyewitnesses that have seen Manning throw, but it’s all speculative until other teams can get a look for themselves.

One does have to wonder if the Colts, who know Manning’s medical history intimately, aren’t willing to allow their franchise player the opportunity to make a comeback with them, just how ready he will be to lead another team this fall.

But if we assume Manning’s health, is D.C. the right place for him?

Since Dan Snyder took over the team, the Redskins have usually been about the quick fix. There’s an entire roster full of aging veterans the team has paraded through Redskins Park trying to recapture previous glory for the Burgundy and Gold, with results ranging from meh to disaster. None of those moves have earned the title of unqualified success.

What makes Manning different? Again, assuming health, the last we saw of Manning he threw for 4,700 yards and 37 TDs against 17 picks and 16 sacks, all numbers right in line with his career averages. Sure, he’s 35, and at some point his arm will fall off, but we haven’t seen anything to indicate his play was starting to slip. Until the surgery, of course.

Manning could give the Redskins the first true star quarterback they’ve had since, well… Sonny Jurgenson? If he has three years left in the tank, the Skins could be immediately competitive with Manning at the helm. The division wasn’t settled last season until the last two weeks of the season, and despite the Giants Super Bowl victory, they never really looked like world beaters at any point in the season last year.

Should the Skins bring in Manning, use free agency to find a play-making wide receiver (coughVincentJacksoncough) and then use the No. 6 overall pick to land a top offensive lineman, they could be instantly competitive while buying time to find that generational quarterback they’ve been looking for for so long.

However…

What if that generational quarterback is Robert Griffin III? Considered the sure-fire No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft behind Andrew Luck, Griffin wowed scouts and GMs at the recently completed combine. Griffin’s arm strength, athletic ability, speed, size and maturity are all off the charts. The only question about him, coming out of Baylor, is how quickly he can adapt to the pro game.

There are plenty of folks in this market that are urging the Redskins to bite the bullet and trade the assets it would take to move up to the No. 2 spot and select Griffin. Their reasoning is solid. But Griffin will be expensive in terms of draft picks. The Redskins did a great job the last two drafts finding players to come into Mike Shanahan’s system and contribute right away. Can the Skins afford to effectively tank the next two drafts to select one player?

Many think Griffin is worth it. It’s a slower growth than reaching for Manning, but the reward could be a decade of competition. Manning would at most be a three-year answer. Over the next few days and weeks we’ll see this play out as Manning weighs his offers and decides where he wants to attempt his comeback.

Who will be number one on the depth chart come training camp? I think all Redskins fans are united in hopes it won’t be one of the quarterbacks on roster at the end of last season.

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Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Nats and the Caps, and previously wrote Nats News Network and Caps News Network. Dave’s first sports hero was Bobby Dandridge. Follow Dave’s Redskins coverage on Twitter @RedskinsDSP.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

Comments

  1. According to a report I heard it said Manning has already told the Redskins he’s not interested in coming to play here in D.C., have you heard anything about whether that did happen?

    You are right that we have to go back almost 40 years since the Redskins had an elite QB!

    • Abram Fox says:

      Thanks for following, Jason! Word is that Manning isn’t much interested in playing for the Redskins since it would mean playing his brother twice a season, but the ‘Skins are still courting him anyway…even after the breaking trade for the #2 overall pick.

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