Bringing an even remotely healthy Peyton Manning into the NFC West would qualify as a dream scenario for one team -- and a nightmare for the three others.
Charley Casserly's suggestion that Arizona qualifies as "one team to watch" regarding Manning surely caught Cardinals' fans attention over the weekend. Casserly, now at CBS, worked in the league for years. He has a feel for personnel.
Manning-to-Arizona is a long shot, in my view, for the following reasons:
Health: Manning hasn't been healthy enough to play. There are no guarantees he'll be healthy enough to play next season.
Availability: If Manning does return to health, the Colts might be wise to pay his $28 million bonus. They could still draft Andrew Luck first overall with an eye toward the future. Letting a healthy Manning walk could help another team win a championship. ESPN's Chris Mortensen says the Colts will not trade Manning; Arizona already gave up a fair amount for Kevin Kolb.
Opportunity: If the Colts do decide to part with Manning, the quarterback will have a say in where he winds up. That is because he'll either be a free agent or he'll be operating under a contract that figures to need adjusting. There are no guarantees Manning would choose Arizona over other teams.
Timing: Manning's bonus is due March 8, five days before the 2012 league calendar begins. The Cardinals' quarterback, Kolb, has a $7 million bonus due. Both quarterbacks would become free agents if their teams did not pay the bonuses. In this case, the Cardinals could not feasibly let Kolb hit the market without knowing for sure they could land another quarterback.
Manning's story will continue to command our attention. Adding him to an NFC West team sounds great in theory, but it might not be feasible.