Current Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said during an interview with the Indianapolis Star that former Colts president Bill Polian wanted to trade Peyton Manning.
According to Irsay, in 2004, a frustrated Polian was at wit’s end as he attempted to secure Manning’s new $98 million contract and, in a fit of pique, told Irsay, “We need to trade Peyton; we can get a bunch of defensive players and become like Tampa Bay or Baltimore.” Irsay said no. “Understand something, Bill, we are not trading Peyton Manning, period,’’ Irsay recalled telling the former team president.
Irsay also confirmed that had they finished 2nd to last and gotten the #2 pick in the NFL Draft, that he still would have released Peyton Manning and then drafted Robert Griffin III.
(A quick aside on a question that’s been posed and heretofore unanswered: If the Colts had beaten the Jaguars that day and ended up with the second pick in the draft, would they have drafted Robert Griffin III and let Manning go?
Irsay said yes.
He would have drafted RGIII, but put him in a less run-happy offense. “I wouldn’t have exposed him to injury in the same way they have in Washington,” Irsay said. “My philosophy on quarterbacks is, first and foremost, you’ve got to keep them healthy and on the field.”
Now, if the Colts had finished third or lower, Manning would still be a Colt. And the team would have drafted his heir apparent later in the Draft. One guy they loved: Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson).
It’s pretty crazy to think of all the different scenarios that could have played out had he listened to Polian and traded Peyton Manning. I wonder if Manning would have ever won a Super Bowl if he went anywhere else, or if the Colts had won a Super Bowl without Manning. Nothing like playing the “what if” game when you’re bored.