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Published: March 19, 2012
If at least one Super Bowl is won, then this will be a moot point. But in the event that Peyton Manning cannot deliver another title to Denver, will the Broncos be making a mistake trading away a young and improving Tim Tebow for an aging quarterback who may be one hard hit away from retirement?
If the 36-year-old former Colt can stay healthy, he is arguably any team’s best case scenario to lead the way to winning a Lombardi Trophy. But Manning’s surgically repaired neck will not get a true test until he is drilled in the pocket off balance after making a throw. Will he be able to pick himself up off the turf and continue? No one can ever question Manning’s drive and willingness to succeed, but neck injuries can be quite serious and having full mobility for the rest of your life must be weighing on his mind after having to sit out the entire 2011 season.
Manning will have to shake off some rust as the 2012 season kicks off and someone his age coming off a career-threatening injury cannot expect much more than a two-year window as the best opportunity for a championship. The Broncos are reportedly ready to sign him to a five-year, $95 million deal, so they are hedging all their eggs in Manning’s basket. It’s not exactly as if they were one player away from winning it all last year and they need to make some major improvements on the defensive side of the ball if they want to be serious contenders to play in New Orleans next February.
By the time they make the necessary improvements on the roster to make a legitimate run, will Manning have enough left in the tank to drive the bus?
No one will ever mistaken Tebow for Manning, but the southpaw certainly took the city of Denver, the league and even the mainstream media by storm last season. For all the criticism that he and the organization endured for selecting him in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Tebow, 24, stayed the course and developed into a decent passer. His scrambling ability remains the most potent weapon in his arsenal, but Tebow showed that he can deliver a big pass in a big game – at the biggest moment. (The 80-yard touchdown pass on the opening play from scrimmage in the AFC Wild Card Round win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.)
Team executive John Elway announced earlier that Tebow would be the starting quarterback heading into the 2012 preseason, and while that doesn’t mean much when broken down, the vote of confidence from the franchise’s legendary superstar must have meant something to the Florida product at the time.
But that was before the Manning sweepstakes began. Elway is not showing the patience needed with a work in progress type player such as Tebow and feels that Manning can get them over the hump. That remains to be seen, but scrapping the Tebow ‘experiment’ after just two years may be a critical error.
Denver has already announced that they will look to trade Tebow once the Manning contract is finalized, so there is no chance of him taking a back seat to the future Hall of Famer. The Jacksonville Jaguars have been mentioned as the most likely suitor, with the Miami Dolphins also in need of a starting quarterback. There has even been some rumblings that Bill Belechick has made inquires about bringing Tebow to New England.
Just what will Tebow bring in return when traded away? It will be tough to convince a team to give up a first rounder for him, even with the success he will bring with him on and off the field.
And where will both organizations be come 2014? For Denver’s sake, they had better hope the words “defending Super Bowl” champions are a prefix whenever they are mentioned.
Photo by Bill Menzel
Tagged with: Best Case Scenario, City Of Denver, Colt, Contenders, Denver Broncos, Lombardi Trophy, Mainstream Media, Moot Point, Necessary Improvements, Neck Injuries, Nfl Draft, Peyton Manning, Rest Of Your Life, Rust, Southpaw, Super Bowl, Tim Tebow, True Test, Turf, Willingness