Commentary

Best destinations for Peyton Manning

Teams the Colts QB might fit if No. 18 really wants out of Indianapolis next year

Updated: December 4, 2011, 6:59 PM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
Peyton ManningJason O. Watson/US PresswireCould Peyton Manning be wearing a different uniform next season?

Last week I wrote about the teams facing the worst current quarterbacking situations in the NFL. I had some comments asking why the Indianapolis Colts weren't on the list. It was pretty simple for me. A bad quarterbacking situation involves more than what you saw on Sunday. It means not having an answer on the current roster, not being bad enough to draft what you consider a certain starter of the future, and not even having that young starter, like an Andy Dalton or Cam Newton, to build around. It means having no answers.

The Colts may not be winning much these days in part because of their quarterback play, but the team has a recovering Peyton Manning on the mend, and the inside track to draft one of the best quarterback prospects since John Elway. The record couldn't be worse, but the prospects at quarterback aren't bad.

Of course, now we can see the growing uncertainty surrounding Manning. News that his health is better and his career ready to resume means the Colts must make big decisions. And everybody knows it. Do they want to shell out a huge bonus that ostensibly keeps Manning around for a while? Do they keep him, but draft Andrew Luck and deal with the drama of a perpetual quarterback debate? Do they deal the rights to Luck and recoup a ton of draft picks even though they know, as much as any organization does, the value of sustained great quarterback play?

Or do they deal with the reality that Manning might be better off elsewhere?

It sounds crazy to think of Peyton wearing a helmet that lacks the blue horseshoe, but hey, Joe Montana went to a Pro Bowl with the Chiefs, too.

With that in mind, here are what I consider to be five of the best options for Manning to resume his career elsewhere if the Colts decided to part ways. Given what they might have to pay two quarterbacks, a part of me thinks it's not at all a weird notion that Manning is elsewhere. Where? Well, how about …


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Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst