A report on Tuesday from the Indianapolis Star said that Colts owner Jim Irsay would want Peyton Manning to return to Indianapolis in 2012 but “at a much lower cap number.”
“We can make it work if he wants to be here,” Irsay told Mike Chappell of the Star. “We’d be excited to have him back and finish his career with us. I want him to be able to make the choice. We would love to have him back here if he can get healthy and we can look at doing a contract that reflects the uncertainty of the . . . healing process with the regeneration of the nerve [in his neck].”
What it will come down to, says Star columnist (and frequent Manning interviewer) Bob Kravitz, is “whether Peyton Manning will be willing to come back for less and compete with Andrew Luck versus going elsewhere maybe for more money.” There was speculation last week that the Manning situation would be resolved by the scouting combine, which happens to begin a week from Wednesday in Indianapolis. Now it seems like the Manning-Luck situation will almost certainly go unresolved into March prior to the free agency period.
Another interesting development is that Clyde Christensen, who was the team’s offensive coordinator from 2009 to 2011, will remain on the team’s staff under head coach Chuck Pagano as the quarterbacks coach. This only increases the speculation that Manning and Luck could end up on the same roster and compete for the starting job. Of course, this is all contingent on Manning re-negotiating his $28 million roster bonus due on March 8.
“There’s no question it can be worked out if he wants to be here,’’ said Irsay. “It can work if he wants to come back and can get back to being the old Peyton.’’
Could Columbus Move Nash, Others?
It’s hard to believe star forward Rick Nash is more than halfway through his ninth season in Columbus. The Blue Jackets are the worst team in the NHL by a whopping 11 points and the team could finally be putting Nash on the trade block in order to get Columbus some help, according to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch.
Columbus GM Scott Howson declined to comment for the story, which is a departure from what he’s previously done. Nash prefers to be a member of the Blue Jackets and has a no-movement clause in his contract so he could block any trade. In 56 games, the 27-year-old Nash has 18 goals and 39 points with a -22. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that Columbus is open to anything that will help their team long term, and that includes a trade of Nash.
A pair of teams that could have interest in Nash are Eastern Conference powers Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. Howson has been seen scouting the Rangers at two of New York’s last four games, according to the New York Daily News, and a report suggested that the Blue Jackets would ask for forward Brandon Dubinsky, prospect Chris Kreider and a number one pick for Nash. Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe reports that any Bruins offer would have to start with young backup goalie Tuakka Rask and forward David Krejci or forward Milan Lucic leading a package of players.
Other teams with interest could include Washington and San Jose, since Howson was at the Caps-Sharks game on Monday night, according to Yahoo! Sports. Washington, Dallas, Detroit and Pittsburgh had scouts at Sunday’s Jackets-Ducks games, so it seems like a large number of contenders will have interest in acquiring Nash. All this is assuming Nash would waive his no-movement clause and accept a trade.
Columbus may also try to deal some of their upcoming free agents and complimentary players as they build toward the future. The Rangers would also have interest in Jeff Carter, who was acquired from Philadelphia last offseason. One team that would not have interest is Calgary, but the Calgary Herald does report that Carter wants out of Ohio’s state capital. Others who Columbus could move includes R.J. Umberger, Antoine Vermette, Derick Brassard and Steve Wisniewski, according to the Dispatch.
By agreeing to a one-year contract with Edmonton on Monday, D Andy Sutton will not be a free agent at the end of the season and will not be moved before the Feb. 27 deadline. Sutton will make $1.5 million next season, according to TSN. Dreger reports that the Oilers are talking to forward Ales Hemsky about a new contract but it’s more likely that he’ll be dealt. For other players TSN thinks could be on the move, including a possible Sam Gagner deal, click here.