Trying to guess where Peyton Manning will play next season has become a gold mine for football reporters looking for material in the weeks after the Super Bowl.
|Could Peyton Manning be throwing passes to Andre Johnson in 2012? Don't hold your breath. (Illustration/NFL.com)|
On paper, Manning in Houston is a fantasy owner's dream. The Texans have two elite playmakers in wide receiver Andre Johnson and running back Arian Foster and a strong offensive line to keep the future Hall of Fame QB upright. Throw in the fact the Texans had the top-ranked total defense this season, and Manning would seem like the final piece of the puzzle.
But McClain throws cold water on the proceedings, starting with the biggest issue -- money. Houston has limited salary-cap space, and it already has two important tasks in re-signing restricted-free-agent-to-be Mario Williams and extending Foster. McClain says the Texans also want to re-sign Chris Myers, Mike Brisiel, Joel Dreessen and Neil Rackers, among others.
But it goes beyond finances. The Texans have three younger QBs they like in Matt Schaub (who's ahead of schedule in his recovery from foot surgery, according to McClain), T.J. Yates and Matt Leinart. These are players already entrenched in a system that fits the strengths of the team.
"Think about the Texans' offense. That's not Manning's offense," McClain writes. "He doesn't roll out and throw the boot. He's a pocket passer. Manning will go to a team that plays the same offense and is willing for him to basically run it because that's what he did so well with the Colts until his three neck operations."