Peyton Manning – The unthinkable has happened with Peyton Manning and his fans. For the first time in his time in the NFL, he is now a free agent . The Miami Dolphins can officially begin its pursuit of former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
Colts owner Jim Irsay, standing Wednesday beside Manning, announced at noon the four-time MVP and 2006 Super Bowl winner would be released from his contract, ending a months-long saga of what the franchise would do with the league’s only four-time most valuable player.
The Dolphins, Seatle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins, New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals all have been mentioned as possible landing spots for Manning, who will join the many iconic NFL legends who finished their careers with a different team. Joe Montana will be remembered as a 49ers’ quarterback, but he last played with the Chiefs. Brett Favre is most identified in green and gold, but finished with the Vikings.
Manning, who will turn 36 this month, was due a $28 million roster bonus, but he said money and contract were never a factor. The uncertainty of his health and his playing career after reportedly undergoing four neck surgeries missing the 2011 season led to his break from Indianapolis.
Irsay announced Manning’s No. 18 jersey will be retired. “It will never be worn again by another Colt.”
Manning read from a prepared statement, crying at moments. “I’ve been a Colt for almost my entire adult life,” Manning said. “…Things change. …Our circumstances make it best for us to take this next step.”
Manning started every game of his career with the Colts. He threw for 54,828 yards, 399 touchdowns and 198 interceptions.
Dolphins owner Steve Ross is believed to be enamored with Manning, and the franchise is poised to pursue him.
“I haven’t thought about where I’ll play,” Manning said.
On Monday, the Dolphins were among a handful of teams that opted not to use the franchise tag. They did so to preserve the estimated $15 million in cap space the team presently has.
The Dolphins intend to use that space to lure a free agent quarterback like Manning.