- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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There was no other way for this to end between Peyton Manning and the Colts. The news, courtesy of Chris Mortensen, that Manning and the Colts will announce their divorce Wednesday, is no shock to anyone who's been paying attention to the facts of the case. Sad and weird? Sure. But it had to happen.
The question is what's next for Manning. And because our division includes a team in desperate need for a quarterback, we must discuss what the likelihood is that Manning ends up in a Washington Redskins uniform in 2012.
First things first: We all agree that the best quarterback solution for the Redskins, in the short-term and the long-term, is Baylor's Robert Griffin III. If they can manage to trade up with the Rams, secure the No. 2 spot in the draft and select Griffin, the Redskins and their fans will feel as though they are on top of the NFL offseason world. But until they make that trade, there remains a chance that they won't.
If they can't or don't get to Griffin, Manning exists as a legitimate fallback option for the Redskins. It has been discussed among Redskins decision-makers and has not at all been ruled out.
Before the Redskins or anyone else can make an all-out pursuit of Manning, though, they have to be sure his arm is going to be healthy. If it is, there's no reason to believe that he won't be one of the very best quarterbacks in the entire league in 2012. But it's likely going to take some time to determine whether he is, in fact, healthy. That's why I don't believe Manning will sign at 4:01 pm next Tuesday or at any time especially early in the free agency period. I think Manning will be a relatively late signing, and that interested teams such as the Redskins will have the ability to sort out other options before pulling the trigger on Manning. It sounds as though the Rams want the draft pick trade thing settled sooner rather than later, and for better or for worse the Redskins might know sometime in the next week whether they're in a position to get Griffin.
If they are, they'll surely wish Manning well in Miami or Arizona or wherever he lands. But if they're not, you can expect to read a lot more about the Redskins and their interest in Manning over the coming weeks and maybe even months.