My thinking is severely Cowboyscentric. This means that whenever I see news involving the NFL, my first and foremost thought is "How might this possible affect the Dallas Cowboys?". If the answer is "Not at all", I have a tendency to ignore it, except for considering if there is something about it that may allow me to poke fun at someone else.
As a result, I had not been paying that much attention to the Peyton Manning job search, since Dallas has Tony Romo and there would be no real gain for the team in trying to spend a bazillion dollars signing an older, less mobile quarterback with a serious injury history, even if he is considered to have a better football mind than Vince Lombardi, Chuck Noll and Johnny Unitas put together. (Obviously, there was no humor to be mined in his desperation-fueled quest to find a way to win one more championship so as not to go to his grave with fewer rings that his brother Eli Manning, who is now referring to himself as "The Real Elite One" and to Peyton as "One Trick Pony".)
Then I heard a blurb on ESPN radio Sunday afternoon that reported that Peyton's search was down to the Arizona Cardinals and the Denver Broncos. Suddenly, his decision has a direct impact on the Dallas Cowboys.
Why after the jump, although I bet most of you can guess.
For some reason, after hearing the ESPN report I was inclined to doublecheck it (without the Aaron Rodgers dance, thank you), and much to my total shock and amazement found that their version of the story may be a bit incomplete. NFL.com is reporting that Peyton may be visiting the Miami Dolphins as well. However, I hope ESPN is accurate in their assessment that the Broncos are currently the front runners.
Why? Because of the order of the first round picks (as they stand today):
Arizona Cardinals: 13
Dallas Cowboys: 14
Denver Broncos: 25
If the choice is down to Miami, Arizona and Denver (he has not scheduled any other visits, and has indicated he will not sign with a team he has not talked to first), then it is clearly to Dallas' benefit to have him go to the Broncos so that as many teams as possible ahead of Dallas in the draft still need a quarterback. With the Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Redskins having Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III spoken for already, Dallas fans should be hoping for Ryan Tannehill to get into the top 13 in the draft. This will push one more quality player down to that 14th spot. Right now, Miami and the Cleveland Browns at 4 are considered the two teams most likely to reach for Tannehill, with Miami being the more likely destination. Not only is 8 a bit less of a reach, but Tannehill's old coach from Texas A&M, Mike Sherman, is now the offensive coordinator for the 'phins. If they were to sign Manning, it would seem pretty likely that they would look for something else in the draft.
There are other options, like signing free agent Matt Flynn, but I am still hopeful that Miami might use the draft to try to find their solution at quarterback if Manning decides to go to Denver. His signing with Arizona would also help, but maybe the Cardinals are more interested in a quarterback than I had realized, and could also make that reach. I just want a third quarterback taken before Dallas makes its selection. I'd go for a fourth, but don't see that in the cards, pun intended.
Anyway, I just hope that Peyton prefers mountains to desert or seashore. I'll take the outcome that has the most potential benefits for the Cowboys any day.