ESPN’s resident NFL insider Christ Mortensen reports that the Indianapolis Colts will soon release long-time quarterback Peyton Manning. This move, on the heels of multiple neck operations and a pending $28 million roster bonus, will be the first domino to fall in the 2012 NFL offseason.
Manning, drafted by Indianapolis 15 seasons ago, will become a free agent, allowing him to sign with any NFL team. The four-time league MVP and future Hall of Famer missed the entire 2011 season after having his third neck surgery in 19 months, a fusion of two vertebrae.
Follow-up reports slate that Manning is a favorite to land in Miami, taking the Dolphins out of the hunt for an upgrade at quarterback. With heavy speculation placing Stanford’s Andrew Luck in Indianapolis via the upcoming draft, the remaining quarterback options include Green Bay’s Matt Flynn, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III and Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill.
The Cleveland Browns have been linked to each of the three quarterbacks in various forms since the conclusion of the 2011 season.
[Related: Peyton Manning, Bernie Kosar and the Ends of Eras]