Was Payton Manning A Good Investment?

The 2012 off-season was a bit like the hokey-pokey.  You put Manning in, you take Tebow out, you put Sanchez in and shake it all about.  You do the NFL Hokey Pokey…. Well you get the idea.  In case you missed it, the Denver Broncos, the team that drafted Tim Tebow last year, crowning him the future of the Denver franchise, negotiated to get Peyton Manning.  It was an interesting choice considering Manning sat out the entire 2011 season with a serious enough neck injury that, if reinjured, would end his career. In addition, Tebow had pulled out some amazing wins last season and looked as if he really was the future of the team.  I have to say, it was an odd decision.

In addition to the Manning/Tebow issue, the trading of Tebow brought about more questions.  Once the Broncos knew they had Manning, they traded Tebow to the New York Jets. This was another interesting move seeing as Mark Sanchez lead the Jets to the playoffs in 2009 & 2010, and finished 2011 with an 8-8 record.  Why would the Jets take Tebow when they already have a good QB, while other teams desperately need one?  As is typical in these cases, the Jets let everyone guess what was going to happen until they announced that Sanchez was still their man – unless he’s not and they put in Tebow.  Huh?!

Now I could talk for days about the decisions in this scenario, but instead I want to talk about one, specifically – was choosing Manning over Tebow a smart call?  My short answer is no.  Yes, Payton Manning is a future Hall Of Fame inductee.  Yes, the addition of Manning to any team makes the team far more powerful than they were the day before.  It’s the injury and his age that makes this the wrong call.  Manning had 3 neck surgeries.  If he gets hit or tackled and reinjures his neck, he will be out for the season, and could potentially never walk again.  What happens if, in week 3, he gets hit and is out for good?  You would basically have to write off the entire rest of the season because you don’t have enough talent at QB to win.  In addition, even if Manning isn’t injured, you’ve just invested a lot of money in a player that, at age 36, has two maybe three good years left and then the search is on for the new “future of the team”.  It’s not a smart investment.

If the Broncos really wanted Manning, the smart move would’ve been to keep Tebow and let Manning mentor him.  When a HOF quarterback mentors an up and coming player, great things can happen, just ask Aaron Rodgers.    In sum, I don’t think the Broncos used their money wisely.  Trading a young QB that has showed a lot of promise, for an aging player that could be out for good at any time, is not the smart choice. 

What do you think?

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