Reasons Manning to 49ers doesn't work

March 7, 2012, 5:35 pm
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Here are some reasons why Peyton Manning cannot grant you your wish and become the next 49er quarterback, starting with the most obvious one of all.You cant buy everything you see in the store window, damn it. And if you could have one thing, wouldnt you rather have Larry Fitzgerald anyway?Thats the first problem with the Manning-as-a-49er scenario. It distracts their fans from the teams more obvious needs you know, the ones that kept them from winning the NFC Title Game.RELATED: Irsay cuts Manning loose after 14 seasons with Colts
And if you think the 49ers didnt win that game because of Alex Smith, youre nuts.But lets not rehash January again, as much fun as it might be for you. This is about the here and now, and why Manning isnt really as good an idea for the 49ers as you think it is.Manning is a gamble, and an expensive one at that. If he can come back from three neck surgeries at age 36 and be the quarterback he was at Indianapolis, swell. But theres no way to know that now, when the decision must be made, and if he cant make the comeback, or if hes less than he was at the height of his powers, then the 49ers have just Zitod their roster.RELATED: Peyton Manning career stats news
With all due respect to Barry Zito, who never ordered the Giants to shovel all that money at him, and has never mailed it in despite the struggles and abuse he has taken. He, in his own way, has been a pretty good servant of the club.Pardon the digression, but this is an important point. The 49ers cannot fast-forward this decision to August, when they would presumably have a good idea of what Manning could and couldnt do. They have to spend this money now, and on faith, in a sport where everyone gets hurt, and the older you are, the more easily hurt you become.And they cannot buy Mannings resume, which as weve said is of the highest quality. It is hard to make the case that he will be as he was at 31, because it cant be made. He was on a different team, with different skills and different coaching. This is a wildly different situation, in short; the 49ers are not as good at this moment as the Colts were in their heyday, so comparisons between then and now are essentially valueless.Next, Manning and Jim Harbaugh are both headstrong offensive minds, used to running their own shops. They could get along swimmingly; neither is completely inflexible.But Harbaugh got Alex Smith to trust him implicitly, while Manning, with more of a body of work behind him, is likelier to say, Thanks, but I prefer to trust me. Navigating that clash of shields will not be easy. It can be done if both men want to be pragmatists, and signing Manning to the kind of jack he will command will give him throw-weight Smith never had, but dont be fooled into thinking it will be an easy transition.There is also the danger, which cannot really be quantified, that Harbaugh, having bought into Smith as much as Smith bought into him, might look a bit disingenuous to other players if he were to chuck Smith after the season Smith gave him.It would hollow his words of belief in the quarterback nobody else believed in, and part of Harbaughs coaching gift is that he can get players to believe he will sell out for them. If he is seen to have sold Smith out instead, especially for the great unknown of Peyton Manning, his next selling job wont be so easy.On the list of reasons not to chase Manning, this last one is the least convincing, but it is a brick in the wall, and when youre talking about buying Peyton manning, every possibility must be considered and ranked accordingly.This isnt an easy call to be sure, because Manning is a pretty glittery prize. Between his age, injury history, the glitter that will have to go his way, and the timing in which the decision must be made however, the reasons not to have him are more compelling than the reasons to have him.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com