Originally written on The Daily Rival  |  Last updated 3/7/12

The Colts deciding to release Peyton Manning was the big news Tuesday. And even before the decision became official, speculation as to who would land the future hall of famer in this event already mounted, with the Jets, Dolphins, Cardinals, Redskins and 49ers being mentioned as possible destinations for Manning. And on Tuesday, even Jerry Rice thinks it would be beneficial for the Niners to make a play for the now ex-Colt.

Via the Contra Costa Times:

“I think you go for it,” Rice said Tuesday. “A guy of that talent, you’ve got everything in place. You’ve got a defense that smacks you in the mouth. You just need a little more out of the offense. That’s not knocking what Alex (Smith) did. (Manning) can take you to a whole different level.”


Rice was most animated when he raised the prospect of adding Manning to a 49ers squad that reached the NFC Championship Game, where it lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

“If he goes to the Washington Redskins, I guarantee they win 10 games. If he goes to Miami, they win 10 games,” Rice said.

It’s easy to see where Rice is coming from. The 49ers made the NFC Championship game last season and yet quarterback is a position that has plenty of room for improvement. The incumbent Alex Smith is currently a free agent, so no matter what the Niners have to make a play on somebody.

The Niners do have bigger needs at other positions, namely wide receiver. Free agents Vincent Jackson, Mike Wallace and franchise tagged DeSean Jackson are some of the names the Niners could pursue once free agency opens next week.

The Niners like Smith and Smith likes the Niners, so the team could probably re-sign him no problem and for a lot cheaper than they could Manning. It makes sense for the team to go that route and use the money saved to lure a big name receiver. After all, the Niners still were a game away from the Super Bowl with Smith throwing to bunch of stooge receivers, Vernon Davis not included, all because Smith wasn’t asked to do a whole hell of a lot.

But the question is do you want a completely healthy game manager or a proven game changer who’s coming off major neck surgery. Going with the latter, folks, is what you’d define a “gamble.”

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