Peyton Manning is a wanted man these days. Between being sought after as a commercial pitch man or a potential “Monday Night Football” announcer, the five-time MVP will have some sort of notable post-playing career.
Now comes the latest rumor: Could he be the next New York Jets general manager?
With no front office experience, Manning would not be a traditional hire, but that seems to fit Johnson’s MO this hiring cycle.
“It’s more than a talent evaluation guy,” Johnson said on a conference call Wednesday. “I want a great strategic thinker. A great manager. A communicator. Someone who can collaborate well with the building. And I’m convinced we’re going to find that person.”
The connection between Manning and the Jets goes back well beyond the current ownership group, which took over in 2000. As Florio pointed out, there was a rumor that Manning would have left Tennessee a year early if the Jets promised to select him first overall in 1997. However, the potential marriage did not work out, and the Jets even traded out of the first overall pick. One year later, Manning went No. 1 to the Indianapolis Colts, and the rest is history.
Would Peyton Manning be a good fit as a GM?
Most general managers work their way up NFL front offices before landing the top decision-making gig, but there’s plenty of precedent for former players — even All-Pros — being hired.
It can take years to truly evaluate how well GMs do, although the early returns have been mixed for some of Manning’s closest comps: John Elway and John Lynch.
Elway joined the Denver Broncos in 2011 after never previously serving in a front office, and he did help direct the Broncos to a Super Bowl title when he convinced Manning to come to Mile High. However, that’s been about his only success. Elway has had trouble finding a franchise quarterback and used valuable resources on burnouts Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch and Case Keenum.
Lynch, meanwhile, was a color commentator after his retirement and joined the San Francisco 49ers in 2017 without any front office experience. While the Niners only won 10 games in his first two seasons, he inherited a rebuilding team and had bad injury luck with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Would Manning be any better than those football legends? It’s hard to say. But there would certainly be pressure for Manning to help former No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold reach his ceiling better than Elway has developed quarterbacks in Denver.
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