There will be a lot of Super Bowl coverage over the next two weeks with the New England Patriots. But here is the first of many offseason installments on the prospects of Peyton Manning joining the AFC East.
Manning's situation is well documented. He still is not fully recovered from neck surgery. The Indianapolis Colts have a major decision -- release Manning in March or pay him a $28 million bonus despite his uncertain health.
And this is where the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins come in. Both are looking to take the next step and both are in need of a legitimate franchise quarterback. A healthy and productive Manning would make either AFC East team a playoff contender.
The Dolphins have not been afraid to say they will turn over every rock to find a quarterback. That includes options like Manning and Matt Flynn in free agency, as well as Robert Griffin III in the draft. Dolphins rookie head coach Joe Philbin wants to find "his guy," and quarterback Matt Moore isn't the long-term solution.
The Jets have been more wishy-washy. They are more concerned with protecting the confidence of their starting quarterback: Mark Sanchez. The Jets haven't publicly expressed interest in Manning but they haven't publicly denied it, either. General manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan both stated Sanchez is their starting quarterback. But the New York Daily News did a revealing report where some Jets players and team employees said they wanted Manning next season.
Manning is a top-five quarterback, when healthy. But if Manning is released by the Colts, it will be due to concerns over his neck. There would be plenty of risks involved for the next team. But I would expect both the Jets and Dolphins to look into the possibility if Manning becomes a free agent.
Which AFC East team would be a better fit? You can debate that in the blog via our SportsNation poll.