It's Peyton Manning day in the NFL. The Indianapolis Colts are conducting a press conference at 11:00 p.m. (Arrowhead Time) this afternoon to officially announce the departure of Manning as the Colts quarterback.
A surreal day in the NFL. Manning suiting up next year in a uniform that's not Colt blue. Weird.
But it's also a hopeful day for about half the teams in the league. Someone is going to sign Manning and someone is going to become a Super Bowl contender. That's what a quarterback like him does for you -- assuming he's healthy, which is a big assumption.
Since it's Manning day, I decided to go through a whole bunch of the Manning talk we've seen recently -- does he fit with the Chiefs, can they afford him, is he healthy and who thinks the Chiefs are going to pursue him.
At last check, the Chiefs had $62 million in salary cap space. GM Scott Pioli said that was really around $37 million after bonuses are taken into account. And it was also before the Chiefs spent $6+ million on Stanford Routt in 2012 and then cut Demorrio Williams saving nearly $2 million in salary cap space. Those numbers were also before Dwayne Bowe got hit with the franchise tag.
Matt Cassel is due $5.25 million in 2012.
No one really knows how much Manning will cost but his last contract was a five-year deal worth $90 million. He looks to be a $15+ million per year player.
The big questions: Is he healthy enough to play? Is he healthy enough to be effective? His camp continues to say that he is. His father, Archie, recently said that Manning's neck is no different than any other player out there. And Archie also said that he's seen Manning throw recently and he looks like the old Peyton.
Of course, team doctors will be the one really making the medical decision.
What the Chiefs have said about Manning
Back in January, the voice of the Chiefs, Mitch Holthus, said this about Manning on Kevin Kietzmann's show:
"I'll be shocked if they don't explore that," Holthus told Kevin Kietzmann on 810 WHB's Between The Lines this week. "When I say explore...to be somewhat serious about, you know, what are you thinking. I think there are going to be a lot of teams doing that. I don't think the Chiefs would completely shut the door on that."
"I think there will be at least a discussion, sublime or directly, of thinking, 'What would it take?', Holthus continued. "Let's just say in a hypothetical situation. I don't want fans to take that the wrong way and think that's what they're going to do. I think they're looking at any and all scenarios right now of moving this thing forward."
That must be the company line because Romeo Crennel said something similar at the NFL Combine:
"I'm not supposed to talk about anybody else's players," Crennel said. "He's still a player with Indianapolis. But with a talent like that, I would be crazy not to consider it if he were available. All right? I'll leave it at that."
Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, on the other hand, declined to comment.
People who think the Chiefs are in the Manning hunt
Brian Billick wrote on FOXSports.com that the Chiefs are one of three teams that make perfect sense.
Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio wondered aloud on a radio show last week about the Chiefs being a darkhorse candidate.
Elliott Harrison wrote on NFL.com that KC is the best fit.
Mike Golic on ESPN's Mike and Mike said the Chiefs are a good fit.
The Vegas odds on Manning late last week were at 4 to 1, which put the Chiefs fourth in the list of teams interested.
Why Manning makes sense in KC
Manning is a football historian. He understands the tradition of football in Kansas City and what Lamar Hunt meant to the game.
Manning wants an offense with playmakers. Jamaal Charles? Check. Dwayne Bowe? Check. Tony Moeaki? Check. KC has a lot to offer offensively, despite the poor numbers last season.
The AFC West is one of the worst divisions in football. The Chiefs could be the favorites in the division even without Manning.
The Chiefs have the money to make it happen.
Matt Cassel has not given us a valid reason to think he is a better option than Manning right now.
Manning is a private guy, at least he was in Indianapolis. He may prefer a smaller city that's similar to Indianapolis....sorta like Kansas City.
KC has the best barbecue in the world. Hey, gotta utilize all your assets in a situation like this.
Most importantly, this is a team that hasn't won much in recent years yet we still have a rabid fan base. If Manning comes to KC and wins a Super Bowl, he is instantly one of the greatest sports figures in Kansas City history.