As the March 8 deadline for the Indianapolis Colts to either pay the $28 million bonus to Peyton Manning, or cut the 4-time league MVP draws closer, all eyes seem to be turning toward where the quarterback could land in free agency. Of course, that speculation is as big in Miami as it is anywhere else in the league, as the Dolphins publically look to upgrade their quarterback position. And, at least according to SI.com's Peter King, Manning could be looking to reunit with Reggie Wayne this offseason.
According to King, "Such a pairing would not only be a plus for Manning, who would love to see it happen, according to one NFL source. But also it would allow him to go to his new team with one familiar receiving face, and if you can say one thing about Manning, it's that he loves familiarity, particularly in how his receivers anticipate throws and the precision of their route-running."
Wayne has spent all 11-years in the NFL with Manning in Indy. He has been selected to five Pro Bowls, and was named to the AP All Pro First Team in 2010. He caught 75 passes last season, racking up 960-yards. Those totals were his lowest in eight years, having broken the 1,000 yard mark every year since 2004. Not coincidentally, last year was the first time Wayne has played without Manning in his career, as the future Hall of Fame quarterback sat out the year following multiple neck surgeries.
King discusses six teams that could land Manning, and whether or not a Manning/Wayne reunion would work with that franchise. The first team he mentions? Of course, the Miami Dolphins.
"Miami. With Brandon Marshall at one outside receiver and Davone Bess a good slot player, Wayne could slide seamlessly into the other starting receiver spot, ahead of Brian Hartline."
King also mentions the New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, and Kansas City Chiefs. In the end, King seems to lean toward the Redskins, with the cap space they have, as the landing place for Manning and Wayne, and possibly Pierre Garcon, another Colts wide receiver looking toward free agency this year. As King writes, "What if, say, Washington GM Bruce Allen, with $49 million in cap room before adding the earned-incentives from the 2011 salary-cap year, says to Manning: 'We'll recreate your 2010 receiving corps, and you'll have a defense already strong enough to play at a Super Bowl level.' Could be very tempting."