Our last image of Peyton Manning is that of a quarterback limping off the field, downtrodden and beaten at home (again) in a playoff game to close out the 2014 season. Shortly after the Broncos' loss in the divisional round to the Indianapolis Colts, reports surfaced of Manning's injuries including a quad malady that reportedly turned his whole thigh a weird shade of purple.
So when you're a Houston Texans fan and you're preparing for another season of QB pu pu platter, invoking the possibility that Peyton Manning could've been your quarterback may not get everyone as jazzed up as it did in, say, 2012. But for some (like me), the mere hope represented by a future Hall of Famer one season removed from a record breaking MVP season in 2013 is enough to immediately begin burning Hoyer and Mallett jerseys. (Do they even make Hoyer and Mallett jerseys?)
That's where we were last night, when the football gods decided to (cruelly, depending on your point of view) allow rumors to bubble to Twitter's surface that the Broncos tried to move Manning to the Texans this offseason. Benjamin Allbright, a Denver radio host whose track record appears to be daily reliable, tweeted the following last night:
Have two unrelated official sources on this, would be a hilariously oddly coordinated lie, if what they were telling me was untrue.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) June 23, 2015
Now, in actuality, this rumor was reported a few weeks ago on Matt "Money" Smith's podcast with Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network. It merely caught the "retweet and debate" traction of Twitter with Allbright's re-report of it Tuesday evening. Just as quickly as it seemed to surface on Tuesday night, though, the rumor was shot down with denials from both the Denver and Houston sides:
Here's one for the record - The speculation is false, and your report is inaccurate. https://t.co/Epge4WkOrX— Patrick Smyth (@psmyth12) June 24, 2015
Sorry this took so long, but I wanted to talk with 3 Texans sources I trust about Manning report. All tell me it's not true.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) June 24, 2015
So, is this all true? Could the Broncos possibly have wanted to willingly begin the Gary Kubiak Era with Brock Osweiler as their quarterback? My personal opinion. ABSO-EFFING-LUTELY! Consider the following things that we know:
1. Gary Kubiak had a chance to coach Peyton Manning one other time in his career, back in 2012 when Manning reportedly wanted to become a Texan, but Kubiak put the kibosh on the team's plans and opted to stick with Matt Schaub as his man. To this day, this is still the unforgivable sin of the Kubiak Era.
2. Brock Osweiler has a weird, uninspiring, Schaub-like vibe to him that would make me nod my head if someone informed me that Kubiak somehow loved him more than he loved Peyton Manning. (Ok, maybe this is my opinion more than it is a fact, but this is my post, and I'll say it if I want to, ok?)
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3. After taking a $4 million pay cut in March, Manning had a no-trade clause included in his revised deal for the 2015 football year. Why have that included unless there was a substantiated fear of actually being traded?
4. It would behoove all parties to deny any retro trade chatter, since a deal isn't going to happen now. Why have a ton of hurt feelings on both sides?
It's impossible to know what a trade for Manning would have cost the Texans, in draft choices, in opportunity cost of re-signing key components of the 2015 Texans (Kareem Jackson, Derek Newton), and in cap casualties beyond Chris Myers and Andre Johnson. But man, personally, I would have loved to find out.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.