Ahead of the Curve

It's the answer to John Elway's prayer.  Peyton Manning signed to a 5-year, $96 million contract with the Denver Broncos.

(Bag) two birds with one stone, is the proverb.  With Peyton on board, Elway instantly elevates his club to contender-status (Vegas 8:1), while also creating cause to ship-off his run-first QB without incurring great wrath from Cult Tebow.

Tim's been an albatross around the neck of the former Broncos' great and pocket passer extraordinaire since Elway took the Denver front office job last year and inherited the former regime's dicey 2010 draftee.

Some think it wise to keep TT in Denver.  Having a fan-favored, playoff QB as a back-up, watching & learning from one of the greats seems a sensible plan.

Others might think it only fair that Tim is rewarded for last year's run.  John was one of those people just two months ago, nearly tabbing Tim the starter for next summers OTAs ("He's earned the right").  Getting handed a clip-board now that his Greatness is on staff wouldn't depress a team-player like Tim, but getting a bus ticket, so to speak, is a different matter.

For all the rave reviews PM's gotten lately on his velocity he's old by NFL standards (36) and his health still a question mark.  He plans to guide a team that was lucky to go 8-8 in 2011 and then didn't put much icing on this Peyton-cake in signing other top players this off-season.

It seems a tad unfair to the man who gave us Tebowmania just a few months back, a thrill-fest that made Super Bowl week seem like a figurative night at the laundromat in comparison.

But retaining Tebow was likely never part of the Bowlen + Elway + Peyton equation at Mile High Central.

For Denver to win the Peyton Manning Sweepstakes, moving out Timbo was a must.

When the topic of trading Tim came up Tuesday, John answered, "It's a possibility (ESPN / 3-20)."  Yeah, and it's possible the sun will rise tomorrow.

Mega-stars like Peyton don't like back-up QBs who get their own billboards.  Keeping Tebow around would be like Joan Crawford sharing the marquee with Hedy Lamarr in the 1940s.  It wasn't gonna' happen.

In fact, potential co-worker conflict may've been what nixed the San Francisco option.  Per Skip Bayless on ESPN's First Take (3-20), SI's Peter King believes the fiery, hands-on style of Jim Harbaugh was a fly in the deal-ointment.

My own take is that having Randy 'Ipecac' Moss in the locker-room made SF unlikely.  This is Peyton Manning, first son of the first family of NFL quarterbacks.  He won't waste his time with a man whose mood swings like a gate (Vikes '10).

There will be suitors for Tebow.  Recent reports include Green Bay, Jacksonville, Miami and New York (Jets) as possible destinations.  But what makes him a risky back-up is also what makes him a touchy trade.  Tim's got cachet but he's also got one serious entourage that views his NFL tenure as a modern-day crusade against the evils of sport.

Tim could improve his marketability and lengthen his NFL career if he converts...to tight end.  In the new position, devotees of 2-point Tim can still cheer his exploits while his skill-set and weightlifter physique are better utilized (Denver Post's Mike Klis calls Tim the best 2-point man in the NFL (ESPN / 3-20)).

Though Green Bay has experience converting former Heisman-winning QBs into winning NFL players (Paul Hornung), it's not hard to imagine that the Gator guy's heart resides in Florida and would then end up back in the Sunshine State.

Sometimes you can go home again.

Steven Keys

Comment #1 has been removed
March 22, 2012  12:18 PM ET

Peytons health is still uncertain but if he comes back 80% (as good as ever), he will be better than Tim Tebow and half the QBs in the League.

I wouldnt keep selling that 7-4 record from last season. Tim did a commendable job but half those wins were very fortunate. Did you see the Bears & Vikings collapses? And Pittsburgh was walking MASH unit.

I wouldnt worry about Tebow, OTF. He seems excited about moving to the Big Apple.

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