The Indianapolis Colts have had a hard season to say the least. Nobody knew the extent of Peyton Manning's uinjury during the lock out and by training camp, the worst came to life. Peyton Manning was out indefinitely...with a neck injury.
I know Peyton Manning is a great QB, one of the greatest I have ever seen play the game, but if you would have told me before the season started that the Colts would be 0-12, I would have called you explicit names. Well, Week 14 is here and what do you know, the Colts are 0-12 and have a two game lead for the first pick in the 2012 draft. Many NFL experts are saying Stanford's QB Andrew Luck is the no brainer first pick of the draft. Even the vice chairman of the Colts, Bill Polian, has already stated the Colts will take Luck with the first pick. That means the Colts are willing to spend their first round draft pick on a QB to play with Peyton Manning. Manning, however, has a clause in his contract that will require the Colts to extend his contract by March, before the draft, or release him. Manning can help the situation by moving that deadline back.
This situation will make for the NFL's top story this offseason. I find it hard to believe, even with Manning's greatness that the Colts would go 0-16 without him, or even 1-15. There are so many holes in the defense and even the offense that the Colts need to address. The Colts taking Manning's replacement would not address these holes. Manning wants to do one thing and that is win. Manning will not be on board with a rebuilding program that will be at the end of his career. If the Colts take Luck with the first pick, they are telling the world they want to rebuild. In a perfect world, Peyton Manning and Andrew could coexist, but this is Manning's last few years and he doesn't want to end his career as a mentor for the Colts new future. If the Colts truly believe Manning is fully recovered and will be ready to go next year, they cannot afford to take Luck with the first pick. With the new rookie wage scale, the first pick isn't an ugly fat woman it used to be. It is a perfect 10 model. The risk with the first pick no longer will set a franchise back 3-5 years. It is a worthy investment. The Colts will have many opportunities for trades which will mean extra draft picks which they are in dire need of. Andrew Luck is a quality player that is capable of starting his rookie season.
So the Colts have two options with a healthy Manning...Either trade down for more picks and compete for a championship in Manning's last years (and they still can draft another quality QB that would be mentored) or they draft Luck and either let Manning walk or trade Manning to another team. Of course, trading Manning would get more draft picks but a trade for Manning, believe it or not, with his unknown health status, will not get as many draft picks as the number one pick. I don't see Manning getting traded before the draft.
I feel for the Colts. It's one thing to have a possible 0-16 season after so many great seasons, but the misery will not end as the Colts will be the main story heading into the draft. It is a possibility that the Colts fans may have already seen the last game Manning plays ina Colts uniform. That thought makes me sick and I'm a Cowboys fan. I can only imagine how that makes Colts fans feel.