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Thursday, March 8, 2012

With Payton Manning Available, the 49ers Stand by Their Man

Posted By on Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Injured Manning to replace a healthy Smith?
  • Injured Manning to replace a healthy Smith?

​Hall of Famer quarterback Peyton Manning was kicked to the curb by the Colts Wednesday after undergoing multiple neck surgeries and snuggling up on the bench for the 2011 season. Now, the question on everyone's mind: Is Manning is a top choice to replace current Niners quarterback Alex Smith?

The idea of a healthy Manning in the Niners offensive pocket is reassuring, as he can tolerate defensive pressure a little longer than the current Niners QB can. Smith's painful incompletions in the playoffs still hurt.

Although Manning is claimed to be one of the best quarterbacks in football, getting canned by the Colts was no surprise after his injuries proved him useless last season. Still, despite Manning's season on the bench, former Niners wide receiver Jerry Rice declared the ex-Colts QB a sure bet for the Niners, and suggested San Francisco snatch him up quick.

Signing him would likely be hit or miss. After three neck surgeries, no one is sure that Manning will even play next season. If he can, it would be a jackpot for the Niners. But that's a hefty penny on an unsure bet, especially as Smith is in top physical condition-- yet he's still not delivering after being coached by the Niners for six years. 


In 2010, Manning completed four percent more passes than Smith completed in 2011. Manning was appointed MVP four times during his 14 years in the NFL --Smith has 7 years of experience and no gold to show for it. Could Manning, injured and ten years older, be more useful than a healthy Smith? 

On Wednesday, former Colts coach Tony Dungy agreed with Rice and appointed the Niners as his top pick for Manning's next placement. "That is a team that has a great defense," Dungy said of the 49ers on the NFL Network Wednesday. "You put Peyton Manning in that offense and people are going to be scared to play them."

But even after Dungy buttered them up, Niners management aren't taking the bait. Niners' head coach Jim Harbaugh is consistent in his commitment to Smith, claiming "he's our man" at every press conference. Apparently we didn't even make Manning an offer. Sources told ESPN that 12 teams have contacted Manning's representatives, including the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, and New York Jets. 

Have the Niners blown a serious chance?

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Erin Browner

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