The Washington Redskins and high-priced free agents go together like peanut butter and jelly or Laurel and Hardy (which might be more appropriate considering the comedic follies that usually follow). That is why it was no surprise that when Peyton Manning hit the open market earlier this month as arguably the highest-profile free agent in NFL history, the Redskins were one of a few possible contenders for his services.
Washington's courtship of Manning, however, ended when it traded for the St. Louis Rams' second-overall pick in next month's NFL Draft. Or so it seemed.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King's behind-the-scenes look at the courtship of Manning unveils some interesting tidbits regarding the Redskins, including Manning's reaction to the Washington/St. Louis trade, which he heard about from John Elway. It went a little something like this:
"What!?" Manning said, stunned.
From that reaction, Elway knew that the Redskins had been on Manning's list.
Juicy. Read on:
That afternoon [March 10, one day after the trade] Manning had another appointment scheduled—with Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and his son Kyle, Washington's offensive coordinator. Though it made little sense after the Rams deal, the Shanahans wanted to keep the date, and Manning did. They discussed football for three hours at Shanahan's expansive house in Denver. Talk about strange connections. Shanahan had been Elway's coach for those two Super Bowls and was fired by the Broncos after the 2008 season. Now Elway ran the Broncos. As Shanahan talked with Manning, a text message popped up on the coach's phone. It was from Elway. "Hey, Mike, put in a good word for us with Peyton." All Shanahan could do was laugh.
It seems that there was a definite possibility that Manning would have been the starting quarterback for the Redskins next season, but as is already known (if this is a spoiler, where have you been?), Manning signed with the Denver Broncos. Yet, you have to wonder what if.*
*Here is my thought: Manning, like Donovan McNabb, Albert Haynesworth, Adam Archuleta, Jeremiah Trotter...(deep inhale)...Jeff George and Antwaan Randle-El (just to skim the tip of the iceberg), would have probably been a disappointment and not worth the money he was earning, causing Redskins fans to panic uncontrollably before resigning themselves to the fate of being a Redskins fan. But I am cynical.
Adam Vingan is co-founder and editor of Kings Of Leonsis, a Caps-centric blog, and is the Capitals Editor for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_KOL and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.