The clamor to obtain the quarterback that has been a thorn in the side of the Jacksonville Jaguars for the last decade has been an ongoing issue, one that has grown in recent weeks.
Peyton Manning wearing the Jaguars teal?
If Jaguars' fans had a choice, the majority would opt to suit him up and have him playing in EverBank Field for at least the next two seasons.
Could it happen? Sure, anything is possible in a sweepstakes to obtain the services of one of the game's greatest quarterbacks ever.
Will it happen? Not likely.
The early reading on teams in pursuit of Manning had 12 clubs showing interest.
Jacksonville was not included in the group. And that could upset a number of fans in this city who feel the cap-friendly Jaguars have the finances to at least explore the possibility of bringing Manning to town for a full season, instead of just once a year that he's done the last 10 years, albeit he didn't play in the game in 2011.
Manning has certainly enjoyed success against the Jaguars. He's led the Colts to 14 wins in 19 games against Jacksonville. He's had personal success as well. He's passed for 38 touchdowns against just 13 interceptions with a composite 108.8 passer rating during those 19 games.
There are other positive aspects for Manning becoming a Jaguar. There is no sales tax in the state of Florida, an obvious bonus to a player making millions of dollars. Owner Shahid Khan has talked about making the Jaguars known on an international ledger, including games across the ocean. Manning's image would be a perfect fit in such a move.
The Jaguars have a young quarterback in Blaine Gabbert who struggled mightily in his rookie season in 2011. A year or two working under and observing a veteran like Manning would be beneficial for both quarterbacks and the future of the team.
Khan has indicated he's willing to open up the checkbook to secure the right players to bring a winner to Jacksonville. The Jaguars are well under the cap allowance and even with an $18-20 million signing bonus that Manning will likely command, the team could handle that and still have enough left for other free agents.
But while those aforementioned facts cry for the team to go after their former nemesis, the logical approach is to pass on Manning and hope he takes his talents outside of the AFC South division.
While a case could be made for Gabbert to learn under Manning, nothing better prepares a quarterback than playing time. That's what Gabbert experienced last year when he became the youngest player in NFL history to start at least 14 games in a single season. And while his inconsistent throws and accuracy left many Jaguars fans groaning and calling for general manager Gene Smith's job, it should prove beneficial to Gabbert who will now have the benefit of a full offseason training regimen, not to mention the tutelage of such quarterback-friendly coaches as Bob Bratkowski (offensive coordinator), Greg Olson (quarterbacks coach) and Mike Mularkey (head coach).
Throw in the uncertainty regarding the status of Manning's neck injury, the Jaguars lack of proven receivers for Manning to throw to and the reduced playing time in practice and games for Gabbert, and it becomes clear why the Jaguars are likely to pass on the Manning sweepstakes.
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