Peyton Manning’s career with the Indianapolis Colts is over. He’s been cut.
Sources close to the Colts say the team will announce that four-time league MVP Peyton Manning has been released from his contract.
Cutting him will prevent a $28 million cap hit for the team and instantly make Manning a highly sough after free agent.
Manning underwent multiple surgeries to fuse vertebrae in his neck over the past 19 months. He missed the entire 2011 season. But Manning reportedly said he was in “better shape than when I was in high school.” The Colts didn’t agree so – bye-bye Peyton.
The move was reportedly in the works ever since it became clear that the Colts would be in a position to draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck or Baylor quarter Robert Griffin, IIII.
Peyton was the face of the Indianapolis Colts franchise for many years. He resurrected a team that spent most of its 13 previous years in the city as an NFL also-ran. Indy landed the No. 1 pick of the 1997 draft and used it to take Archie Manning’s son, a football player pegged for greatness ever since he stepped on a high school field.
Peyton ended up becoming the rare savior who lived up to expectations. He won Rookie of the Year in 1997, had the team in the playoffs in 1998 and only missed out on the postseason once more in the next 10 seasons. Manning won four league MVPs and led the Colts to their only Super Bowl win in Indianapolis in 2007.
Provided he’s able to play, he’ll attract unprecedented attention in the free-agent market. The New York Jets are looking seriously at replacing Mark Sanchez with Petyon Manning.
Also, the New York Giants like players named Manning or Manningham so Peyton could go to the Giants as well. Eli has said that he’d like to play receiver for a while and if Peyton takes over at quarterback, then the two brothers can play together.
Luck or Griffin will have to be the franchise’s next superstar. The Colts are also scheduled to pick up Brady Quinn from Denver, who most likely will start the first few games of the season next year – until Luck or Griffin are ready.