NFL Czar: The great Manning debate

It's that time of year again. The Super Bowl is past us (sigh) and we are moving on towards the offseason. Most years, this would be the time when we would be discussing whether or not Brett Favre would be back in the fall. However, this year there is an even more interesting storyline: the Peyton Manning debate.

Of course, Manning has been the face of the Indianapolis Colts since the day he was drafted number one overall in 1998. One Super Bowl title and several division titles later, the Colts are on the verge of cutting ties with their franchise quarterback.

The reason why this is such a risky choice is the fact that the Colts don't have a replacement on the current roster. I understand the idea behind this though. The Colts have a new general manager and a new head coach, and they want to start fresh with a new QB as well. The Colts are expected to use this year's first overall pick in the NFL draft on Stanford QB Andrew Luck.

There are two main reasons the Colts are even considering this mind-blowing move, the first being Manning's health. He has undergone three different surgeries on his neck in the past year and a half, so there is no guarantee that he will ever be able to play at a high level again. The other is an even more obvious one: money. Manning is due a huge bonus in March (somewhere in the range of $28 million). That is a ton of money for a guy that may not be at full health.

To me, the best case scenario is the Colts get Manning to renegotiate a bit, cutting the bonus as much as possible. This would allow them to keep Manning as their starter and draft Luck for the future. It would be a tremendous step backwards if the Colts got rid of Manning, and if they allow him to reach the open market, they could have to watch him win the Super Bowl somewhere else.

The Packers went through all this with the aforementioned Favre, but they had a semi-established Aaron Rodgers ready to take over. The Colts will be taking a shot in the dark with either Luck or even Heisman winner Robert Griffin III.

Colts owner Jim Irsay is clearly ready to blow up the franchise and start from scratch. Is this the correct decision? Who knows, but it should make for an interesting few months.