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Peyton Manning’s House

February 10, 2012 by staff 

Peyton Manning’s House, While the focus this offseason will be mostly on Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn should garner considerable interest after throwing for 480 yards and six TDs in the Packers’ season finale.

With the glow (and the now annual blame-game fallout) of the Super Bowl dying down, we turn our attention to the long NFL offseason, which won’t end until teams start reporting for training camp in late July. Here are the 10 questions that most intrigue me as the league transitions into player acquisition and draft evaluation mode….

1. What kind of deal is waiting for Peyton Manning once he reaches the open market?

Not the blockbuster that his career credentials would seem to merit. Not with him soon turning 36 and coming off three neck surgeries, amid the ongoing drama of whether the needed nerve regeneration will ever take place and allow him to regain the arm strength and stamina necessary to play quarterback at the highest of levels. At this point, everything about Manning’s future is a question mark, including the where, the when and, most importantly, the matter of what he has left.

Though the $28 million March 8 bonus payment the Colts owe him is the ultimate deadline, some time this month he and team owner Jim Irsay will meet and figure out how to best part ways after 14 years. That will set off a bidding war of sorts, but a cautious one. Manning is reportedly going to get interest from teams like Miami, Arizona, Washington, Seattle, the Jets and others, but when he finally picks a new team, he’ll almost certainly receive an incentive-laden contract with a modest base salary, but one that will escalate in pay depending on his playing time, statistical benchmarks and victories earned.

We know Manning wants to play in 2012, and we know there will be teams more than willing to give him every opportunity to do so. What we don’t know, and maybe won’t know for months, is can he play any more? That’s the biggest mystery of all, and the answers to all the other questions ultimately will be irrelevant if Manning doesn’t prove capable of returning to at least a semblance of the pace-setting form he has displayed in the NFL from 1998 on.

2. How will the fit be between Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and new Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Todd Haley?

Haley’s in-your-face style isn’t for everyone, but my hunch is it’s exactly what Roethlisberger needs right now. The Steelers quarterback openly lobbied for Pittsburgh to retain offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who he was admittedly very close to and comfortable with. But comfortable isn’t always a positive in the NFL, and the Steelers apparently are looking to light a bit of a fire under Big Ben and get him out of his comfort zone in the quest to take his game to a higher level.

Haley will challenge his players, prodding and pushing them to extract their best. Sometimes he can go overboard with that approach, but usually he gets results. He coached a top-five passing attack in Arizona under former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt (who won a Super Bowl with Roethlisberger at QB), and he led a top-rated running game when he took Kansas City to the playoffs in 2010. In Pittsburgh, he’s going to be tasked with reviving the Steelers running game to a degree, bringing it a bit more in balance with a passing game built around Roethlisberger and those talented young receivers.

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