Now that the Combine is over and free agency is set to kick off next week everyone is talking about Peyton Manning. Manning has spent the last four years in Denver but now that his contract is up and the team has offered backup Brock Osweiler over $12 million per year it looked like the future Hall of Famer’s career is over in Denver. Rumor has it at 39 years of age Manning still has the itch to play and if he does he may have some options.
A lot of people have been speculating that Manning could be heading to Los Angeles. It does make sense too. The Rams need something to jumpstart the franchise that just left St. Louis, and what better way to bring in Manning. The team released Chris Long, James Laurinaitis, and Jared Cook last month to free up cap space. If the Rams wanted to make a run at Manning they have the funds to do it.
But another option no one is really talking about is the Browns. The owner, Jimmy Haslam and his brother Bill *now Governor of Tennessee) have been supporters of the University of Tennessee for years and have known Manning since he was a student there in the early 90s. Jimmy Haslam also has some deep pockets and could make an offer Manning couldn’t refuse. If Manning wanted to work in the front office once he retired Haslam would likely offer him a position with the team contingent on him signing a one year deal with the team.
Manning’s best days are behind him but he would give the fans in Cleveland something to look forward to and talk about this summer. Should the Browns draft Jared Goff or Carson Wentz with the second pick Manning could be a mentor and provide invaluable advice as the team brings them along. Josh McCown or Austin Davis aren’t the future for the franchise and Johnny Manziel is on his way out of town.
By signing Manning it also gives the Browns some options with the first pick. Cleveland could focus on defense and draft Jalen Ramsey or Joey Bosa. In rounds two or three they could go after Connor Cook, Dak Prescott or Christian Hackenburg and groom them under Manning.
It might be unlikely but given Haslam’s ties to Manning a one year deal in Cleveland is not out of the question. Should the Browns’ owner open up his wallet and bring in Peyton Haslam isn’t bringing in an elite QB but he would bring excitement and give his future QB a leg up with Manning to learn from.