If that happens before April 26, as some experts believe will be the case, Manning's signing greatly will impact the draft. How so? Let's take a look at a handful of potential scenarios:
â¢ One suitor will be out of the RG3 sweepstakes. Several teams are in the running to trade up for the Rams' No. 2 pick and take Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. It's difficult to imagine Manning going to Cleveland, the presumed primary trade partner for St. Louis. But other teams intrigued by RG3 also will be interested in Manning, with Miami, Arizona, Seattle and Washington being the most logical. If Manning signs with one of them, it could weaken the market for the No. 2 pick. Which could lead to...
â¢ Browns could get RG3 and keep No. 22 pick. Cleveland's primary foe in the race for RG3 is Washington. But if the Redskins sign Manning, it would lessen the pressure on the Browns to give up their second first-round pick (No. 22) in the deal. The Cardinals, Seahawks and any other interested teams all have lower picks in the first round, which would take the Rams out of the range to get a true "blue chip" player. Cleveland could throw in its second-round pick instead, along with the 2013 first and possibly another future pick, depending on what the market demands.
â¢ Jets, Cardinals would target OL in the draft. If the Jets sign Manning, protecting him and his surgically repaired neck would become priority No. 1. As such, they might be pushed into taking a guard like Stanford's David DeCastro with the 16th pick to help Manning feel secure in the pocket.
The Cardinals would be in the same boat at No. 13 if they landed Manning. They likely will lose RT Brandon Keith and RG Deuce Lutui in free agency, and LT Levi Brown (due a $6 million roster bonus on Monday) could be gone, too. So shoring up the offensive line would be essential in the draft.
â¢ Ryan Tannehill could drop out of top six picks. If Manning goes to Washington, it would drop the draft's third-best quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, out of the No. 6 spot. It's possible he could then go No. 8 to Miami, which just hired Tannehill's former Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman as offensive coordinator. The Seahawks would be an even stronger possibility at No. 12. Buffalo, picking 10th, also could be in the mix if they choose not to pay Ryan Fitzgerald a $5 million option bonus.
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