Peyton Manning has made his decision, and the recently-released former quarterback of #ColtsNation is now a Denver Bronco. After 12 teams put in waivers for No. 18, Peyton ultimately whittled his choices down to Denver, San Francisco, and Tennessee, and it was the Mile High State that emerged victorious in the race for his services. While it will be hard to see Manning in any colors other than blue and white, at least the waiting, wondering, and questioning are over. Twitter went wild over the decision, and this week #HorseBytes will share with you what other deals took place in the wake of Peyton’s Denver signing.
Peyton was expected to announce his decision by Tuesday, and, similar to the announcement of his release, #ColtsNation received the news a day early:
Manning was officially introduced as the new Broncos quarterback in a press conference on Tuesday. There, he addressed the media and answered questions. Manning said his decision ultimately came down to comfort level, and he also said that he was well enough to play a football game now, though most likely not up to his standards. He signed a 5-year contract worth a whopping $96 million- the largest salary in the league.
Manning’s new jersey was also unveiled Tuesday. Although the Broncos had previously retired the 18 jersey, the player who had worn that jersey, Frank Tripucka, insisted that it be un-retired for Peyton. Although it was certainly a kind gesture, having Peyton Manning wear your jersey is probably more of an honor than having it retired!
Upon hearing the news, Colts owner Jim Irsay wished Peyton well.
And Peyton won’t be alone in Denver. Joining him will be former Colts tight end Jacob Tamme. The reunion was set up Friday afternoon when Tamme signed a 3 year, $9 million deal with the Broncos.
I bet Peyton was happy, and Tamme bid a classy farewell to #ColtsNation. I will miss Tamme as a Colt, but I’m glad No. 18 will have familiar company with his new team. I look forward to watching the successful partnership continue. In 2010, Tamme stepped up when Dallas Clark was lost to IR and caught 67 Peyton receptions for 631 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Irsay also bid a fond farewell to two other notable Colts veterans, including one of the most iconic Colts on the roster. On Friday morning, offensive lineman Ryan Diem retired. For the past 11 years, Diem has been a staple on the O-Line, playing both the tackle and guard positions, mostly on the right side. He has also been a positive force in the locker room and will surely be missed.
Later on Friday, #ColtsNation lost Jeff Saturday to the Green Bay Packers. Probably the most recognizable center in the entire league, Saturday signed a 2-year contract with Green Bay. During his 13 seasons for the Colts, Saturday became known as one of the few men who understood Peyton’s no-huddle play calls, and after an unlikely rise to the NFL, he was elected to 5 Pro Bowls, made 4 All-Pro selections, and was even named the NFL Alumni Offensive Player of the Year in 2007. Saturday is even a member of the NFLPA Executive Committee and was a major force behind last offseason’s labor negotiations. He essentially saved football by helping to end the lockout.
Saturday was rumored to be following Peyton to Denver, and he was even reportedly offered a job in the Colts front office earlier in the offseason, but he instead chose to keep playing and finish his career in the NFC with Green Bay. Saturday’s loss is a tough one, but I wish him the best. I hope he gets a chance to jump the Lambeau Leap someday!
But the Colts didn’t just lose players in the past week. Irsay, Grigson, and Pagano continued to build the offensive line with two new solid additions.
McGlynn comes to the Colts from the Cincinnati Bengals, and before that he played for the Eagles. He is a four-year veteran who has started 18 of his 26 NFL games, and he will play at the guard position. Satele, on the other hand, will replace Saturday at the center position. He has been a full-time starter the past two seasons for the Oakland Raiders and blocked for running back Darren McFadden’s first career 1,000-yard season in 2010.
Interestingly enough, the Colts also signed a quarterback — Drew Stanton from the New York Jets. In perhaps the most bizarre quarterback circle in the history of free agency, Manning left the Colts to replace Tim Tebow in Denver, who was traded to the New York Jets to take over Stanton’s place as back-up, who left to go…to the Colts?! If that’s not the definition of coming full circle, I’m not sure what is.
That’s right– Andrew Luck is still in the mix somewhere, too. The all-but-guaranteed first pick of the Colts’ in the upcoming draft, Luck held his Pro Day on Thursday in Stanford, and he impressed. Not that he had much to prove. Luck is one of the most highly-touted quarterback prospects since Peyton Manning himself. The only possible concern surrounding Luck has been his arm strength, but Luck put his doubters to rest Thursday by ending his routine with “a 70-yard bomb.”
We’re starting to get a clearer idea of what the 2012 Colts will look like, and with the draft fast approaching, the fog will only fade in the coming weeks. #HorseBytes will have all the news in one place – right here on Naptown’s Finest – for you. Until next week, stay tuned, #ColtsNation!