Is Manning a smart option for Redskins?

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Sports,Redskins,John Keim

There are pros and cons to signing 35-year-old

With the Redskins seemingly connected to every quarterback, it's time to take a look at who might be their next passer. First up: Peyton Manning.

The case for » A healthy Manning provides the Redskins with a chance for their best quarterback play in a long, long time. Yes, he missed an entire year, but in 2010 he was still playing at a high level. He put on a passing clinic at times when he faced the Redskins that season. While the Redskins lack legitimate playmakers on offense, they can address this need in free agency and with their No. 6 pick. All Manning would cost is money. Also, Manning's ability to get rid of the ball quickly, making pre-snap reads, turns mediocre lines into solid ones.

The case against »

He'll turn 36 in March, and there is that injury situation. The fact that his neck is fine is not the point. It's all about the arm, and there's no guarantee it will return to what it was. So there's a definite risk. Also, Manning has been in one system his entire career. Mike Shanahan has run this system forever. Which one has to change? This would require serious adjustments from both sides -- and each is known for his desire to have control. As one NFL source said, Manning would become the offensive coordinator -- and if you try to have it any other way, it's not smart; you have to tap into his knowledge.

Why he would be interested » Because he at least would be playing for a coach who took a quarterback of a similar age and rode him to two Super Bowl wins. No other coach with a quarterback vacancy can say the same thing. The Redskins would have to upgrade the supporting cast as Shanahan has noted quite a few times since the middle of the season. They do have two quality tight ends. They have a solid defense. Others have attractive situations: Miami has more playmakers on offense and a solid defense. The Dolphins would be limited by the salary cap after signing Manning, however. They also have a coach who comes from a different offensive system.

Why he wouldn't » Because the Redskins would have to overhaul a system, one that the coach strongly believes in. How much would they change? One NFL source said that it was tough for Manning to play his younger brother in the past. Would he want to do that twice a year if he has another choice? If he signed with Miami, he could stay in a conference he knows. He has a home in Miami (and has since 2007). Joe Philbin comes from the Packers' system, but he's a rookie coach. If the owner signs Manning -- and it sounds as if he wants to -- then the owner will demand that he craft an offense for him. And Philbin will say, "Yes sir." And while the Redskins can improve through other means so, too, can other teams who are starting with a higher talent base.

Chance it happens » Decent. It's tough to bet against a Dan Snyder/Shanahan combination in this situation. But right now I'd lean toward him going to Miami. That lean changes daily, however, and as long as the Redskins are in the race, there's at least a chance it will happen.

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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