I've been thinking a lot of this chatter that is all over the interwebs and sports talk radio about Peyton Manning coming to DC and I think a) its ridiculous and b) its a bad idea. But like most things, I tend to over-think and I've been doing that on this subject a lot.
First off, it could be ridiculous. Manning may have gotten clearance, but you don't have to watch Any Given Sunday to know that sports and medicine aren't always looking out for each other. But if Manning can play, why not take a shot? Signing Manning wouldn't cost them any draft picks and any money they would spend on him would be short term money and I believe they have done enough thus far in the last two drafts that it won't be a repeat of the 2000 Skins. Manning would bring leadership and experience and elite level talent. He would bring a professionalism and an example of how to be a true leader on a team that has been lacking that across the field. A lot of people think of great players going to different teams, they think of Namath as a Ram and Unitas as a Charger. But Brett Favre took the Vikings into overtime of the 2009 NFC title game and Joe Montana had playoff success with Kansas City. It can be done, great players can contribute with other teams.
The problem is signing Manning changes nothing in terms the needs of the team. They still need a quarterback of the future, they still need playmakers at wide receiver, they still need depth on the O-Line. Signing Manning just ensures that at best they will get much better play at QB as long as he doesn't get really hurt. It's a stop-gap, and that might be, in the end, why this won't work. Does Manning want to essentially be in the same place he would be in Indy if he signed with Washington? In the end, this leaves me rather indifferent if they sign Manning or not because it won't really matter one way or another. The core of this team is still weak whether Manning is signed or not. He makes things better for sure, because I can't even write R__ Gro______ name in the same post as Peyton Manning.
The temptation isn't whether to sign Peyton Manning or not. The temptation is whether we allow Peyton Manning to dominate our thoughts and focus this off season, to let it determine our success versus failure. Instead I would focus on names we don't know, offensive lineman and draft picks that will turn us into the New York Giants and New England Patriots, teams that can perennially restock their rosters because of smart management. Sign Peyton Manning, don't sign Peyton Manning . . . in the end, neither decision would define if this team because a true power in the NFC. The small choices of signing and drafting depth, speed, and talent will be what makes us a winner or not.
So what would I do?
I would keep the 6th pick and see what happens because unlike last year, this draft does have depth. I would focus like a laser on Justin Blackmon, who I think is going to be a true stud on this team. The most depressing stat of this season was the Redskins scored exactly ZERO touchdowns on yards after the catch. Its a lack of talent at both quarterback and wide receiver. Santana Moss is a great player, but he's who go with for an 10 yard crossing pattern for a first down. The last three Super Bowl winners . . . New Orleans, Green Bay, and New York . . . have proven that you don't need the dominate rusher to win, you just need a rushing attack. Evan Royster and Roy Helu are a nice tandem and I say give them a year to see what they can really do as a combination. You have Blackmon, Moss, Hankerson, and Gaffney as WRs, I think things could be interesting. What would make a compelling case for Manning being signed is that there is so much young talent on this team . . . being around a superstar like Manning could do wonders for them. Think Fred Davis . . .
The point of all this is that I hope Skins front office brass don't become Manning-obsessed to the point that they ignore what really needs to be done. Sign him or don't, just don't repeat the mistakes of the past and define success by a big name versus doing the real hard work of winning.