You are here: Home>Collections

In Denver, Elway makes a Jordan move

March 20, 2012|Matt Lindner, For RedEye

Just because a man is good at throwing a football does not mean he's good at throwing money around at guys who play football.

Michael Jordan has proved this axiom to be true time and time again in the basketball world, first with Washington when he took Kwame Brown over the likes of Pau Gasol, Tyson Chandler and Tony Parker. While he'll always be beloved in Chicago for his actions on the court, Jordan's mismanagement of the Charlotte Bobcats has likely ruined professional basketball in that city for a long, long time.

John Elway apparently hasn't been paying attention.

Elway gave Peyton Manning a five-year, $96 million contract on Tuesday to be the team's franchise quarterback.

If this is three years ago, brilliant move. Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history and was coming off a string of seasons that saw him cement his place in Canton.

This Peyton Manning is not that Peyton Manning.

The 2012 version is 35-years-old (he turns 36 on Saturday—happy birthday!) and had to have several surgeries to fuse multiple vertebrae in his neck. He also hasn't played in a game in more than a year. While Manning says he's fully healed, there's a reason he wasn't going out of his way to throw for the teams that were courting him. That alone should have been a red flag for Denver, which has a playoff-caliber roster and its choice of any other free-agents that are, you know, healthy.

While Tebow and the alternatives on the Broncos roster aren't exactly the second coming of Elway, they're less risky than a guy coming off an injury so serious the franchise he helped reinvigorate deemed him too much of a liability to re-sign. Even Elway, who will be 52 when this season kicks off, appears to be in better shape to play than the man he just signed.

But Manning, like Tebow, will sell a bunch of Denver jerseys. But at this point he's more of a rhinestone cowboy riding into the sunset of his career. The only way this move makes sense is if Elway knows something we don't about Manning's health.

Otherwise, this move could set the Broncos back years.

Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.

RedEye Chicago Articles