What if The Indianapolis Colts Had Kept Peyton Manning?

By EJ Mckinley
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

We all know Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco. We also know why. Manning missed the entire 2011 season due to a neck injury. The Indianapolis Colts in turn had to make a hard decision. Did they give up on their future Hall of Fame quarterback for a rookie named Andrew Luck? They eventually made their decision and made Luck the first pick of the 2012 draft and let go of Manning. But what if the Colts had stuck with Manning?

First off, for the Colts to stick with Manning they would have to put faith in his recovery from neck surgery. In doing so, they would rule out the prospect of drafting Andrew Luck in the draft. The idea of having two Pro Bowl quarterbacks on a roster is an intriguing one but it’s one that can’t stick. The money the Colts would have to spend on them both would be outrageous. Luck is just too high profile to play second fiddle to anyone.

If the Colts don’t draft Luck, what happens to the Draft itself? The Colts still have the first pick. They had a lot of positions to look at so it’s anyone’s guess who they would take with their pick. I would think it would be a toss-up between Trent Richardson and Matt Kalil. The Washington Redskins would still take Robert Griffin but the rest of the draft would be totally different. The Cleveland Browns in the third spot would take Luck and start winning again. If the Colts took Kalil, then the Vikings would miss out on him and without his blocking Adrian Peterson wouldn’t have had the monster season he had last year. After the Minnesota Viking‘s pick, it’s more speculation, but every team’s position at this point would be vastly different.

What about the Broncos? Denver wouldn’t have Peyton Manning so what would they do? Their only other option would be Tim Tebow. I doubt they would go into free agency because no one was truly worthy to get signed as a starter in 2012. So Tim Tebow stays in Denver and Tebow mania magic continues. However, eventually defenses learn to stop his read option and he fails in Denver. Once the read option is figured out by Tebow running it the first, the rest of the league has a solid understanding and we never see the Russell Wilson and Collin Kapernick offenses truly flourish in the read option aspect, at least. Since Denver is stuck with Tebow they have a losing season. They’re now searching for a new quarterback and Wes Welker stays with the New England Patriots because Peyton Manning is still in Indianapolis.

The Colts have a winning season with Manning back and their new draft addition they took in the first slot. But in the end, they lose. Not the season, but their future seasons. Manning is only going to play a few more years and then God knows what will happen. Luck on the other hand leads the Browns to the playoffs and they stay in contention for many years to come.

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