Mike Francesa and Charlie Casserly talk Peyton Manning

Yesterday afternoon, I caught an interview on WFAN between Mike Francesa and former longtime NFL executive Charlie Casserly, who is connected out the wazoo with NFL personnel.  Tons of interesting nuggets from their conversation, which I’ll bullet-point here:

  • Peyton is going to sign in less than a week.  Why?  Teams need to know what they’re going to do with their money.  If you get Manning you might also want to bring in Reggie Wayne and maybe even Pierre Garcon as well so that Manning can start off with two of his targets already in place.  Conversely, if you don’t get Manning, you want to be able to move on quickly to Plan B.  Casserly noted Miami as a team that would want to move on quickly if they don’t land Peyton, citing Joe Philbin being the new Dolphins coach, who likes Matt Flynn.
  • Francesa noted that if it’s only going to take Manning a week to find a team, then he’s far down the road already in negotiations.  Casserly disagreed.  He said that Manning legitimately thought he’d be back in Indianapolis, perhaps being the last to accept the reality that he could be playing elsewhere, until it actually happened.
  • Casserly didn’t think it would be a bidding war.  It’ll be a unique process in that Peyton will be interviewing the teams, more than the other way around.
  • Teams would be foolish not to let Manning run his own offense, in which he’s able to walk up, assess the defense and make calls at the line on his own.
  • Manning not competing directly with his brother is a strong factor.  The Redskins came up several times during the conversation, and both Francesa and Manning dismissed them each time.
  • Weather “should be” a strong factor, according to Casserly, although he didn’t seem to have any information to suggest he knows whether that’s important to Peyton or not.  Casserly cited a stat in which Peyton is 0-3 in January outdoors, and .500 in December outdoors.
  • When asked if the team had to be a contender or not, Casserly didn’t necessarily say yes.  He said there “has to be a plan to win this year.”
  • Coaching staff will be enormous.  If Peyton doesn’t feel that the coaching staff is as dedicated as him, he won’t be interested.  He’ll be interested in playing somewhere he thinks the coaching staff can help make him even better.

  • Houston came up a number of times.  Francesa noted that there were rumblings that Manning wants the Texans (although the interest wasn’t mutual), seeing as it’s a ready-to-win team, warm weather (dome), AFC, etc.  Casserly shot it down.  Francesa also noted the Niners for similar reasons (minus the AFC stuff), which Casserly also shot down.
  • Casserly’s top 3 were Miami, Denver, and then Arizona.
  • No on Kansas City.
  • No on Seattle.
  • Back to Denver.  Casserly noted that the Broncos have a great left tackle in Ryan Clady, a receiver in Demaryius Thomas that’s already a player that can stretch the field better than a guy like Pierre Garcon, and Eric Decker gives you a disciplined route runner type player like Reggie Wayne (although Casserly conceded that Decker does not have the same ability as a Reggie Wayne).  He also noted that Denver has a commitment to run the ball, which was something that Manning craved at the end of his playing days in Indy.  Casserly thought the defense was improving and also mentioned that the AFC West is weak and there for the taking.
  • Multiple sources who saw him throw last week said that if you didn’t already know he was injured, you’d have no clue.
  • No on the Jets.
  • Casserly gave two sleeper teams: The Eagles and the Titans.  He said the Eagles are loaded with talent, ready to win right now, and said “Well we have Michael Vick, who’s very talented, but what if we had Peyton Manning?”  He was quick to note, however, that it wasn’t going to happen and such a move would be playing “fantasy football.”  He said the Titans are a wildcard, because their owner (Bud Adams) once demanded Vince Young “when nobody in the building wanted Vince Young.”  He said that Adams is getting up there in age, and Manning could be a last hurrah of sorts.  Casserly also noted the Titans have Chris Johnson in place, a good OL, a receiver in Britt, a head coach in Mike Munchak that Manning would respect, and an offensive coordinator in Chris Palmer that would be flexible in what he does.
  • Casserly acknowledged the report that 12 teams contacted Manning’s people, but he said that there will be a small number of teams with serious involvement.
  • No mention whatsoever of the Cowboys, and another team I’ve seen thrown around, the Jaguars.


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  43. Turd.Ferguson says:

    I haven’t been paying too much attention to all of the Peyton stuff, but has anyone mentioned Tampa? They definitely have enough cap space to bring a decent supporting cast for him.

    1. The thinking out there is that while money is always an important factor to everyone, it’s not so far out in front as the number one factor with manning as it is with most free agents. The problem with Tampa is that they suck.

  44. Will says:

    Interesting on the no to Kansas City.

    After the Dolphins, I think they’re the best reasonable fit for him. (Obviously a place like Baltimore or Houston would be the best, but they’re not giving up on their QBs).

    1. The Chiefs reportedly offered him a contract.


      I don’t know if Casserly said “no” on the Chiefs because the Chiefs wouldn’t be interested (which would obviously be incorrect if they offered him a contract), or if Peyton would have no interest in KC. He didn’t elaborate. Just said “no.” One word answer on them.

      1. Immynimmy says:

        Yeah, the Chiefs make perfect sense:

        √ Cap Room and good draft position

        √ Veteran Coach

        √ Above average offensive line

        √ Young and talented D

        √ Great running back in Charles

        √ Less pressure than the Redskins (Eli) and Dolphins (Brady)

        √ Possibly the easiest division

        √ Great TE and WRs

        √ Less controversy than Broncos and Jets

        It just makes too much sense. Which probably means he’ll go to Green Bay or some shit like that.

        1. Tracer Bullet says:

          Plus, it might make Bowe more inclined to re-sign and with him already tagged, they could target, say, the less-expensive Garcon instead of Reggie Wayne.

  45. Tracer Bullet says:

    I don’t understand the Houston thing at all. Yeah, Schaub has injury concerns but I have to think they would have at least made it to the AFCCG with him under center last season.

    1. Yeah, they both said that Houston can win with Schaub. Francesa just said it would be a team that would be appealing to Peyton. Not necessarily the other way around.

      1. Tracer Bullet says:

        Gotcha. I’ve heard some talking heads say that Houston should be the team moving heaven and earth to sign Manning. Didn’t make much sense to me.

  46. Free Plax says:

    I really glad to hear the 49er’s and Peyton are not talking, if he is healthy that D, they would be a tough out.

    1. Agreed. That’s a perfect fit for San Fran, in my opinion.

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