Since taking control of the Miami Dolphins, team owner Stephen Ross has set his eye on a lot of things.
He wanted a superstar coach with head coaching experience. He got an unproven offensive coordinator. He wants a Super Bowl. All he's got is a first-round playoff exit. He wants public cash for a stadium upgrade. Good luck with that. All he's really gotten so far is a cadre of celebrity co-owners to rub elbows with and the ill-fated guidance of Bill Parcells.
Now Ross has his eyes set on superstar quarterback Peyton Manning. He'll officially part ways with the Indianapolis Colts in less than an hour. Will Ross finally be able to snag something off his wish list?
The Dolphins are expected to be one of four teams who emerge as serious contenders for Manning's services. The Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, and, ugh, the New York Jets are also said to be in the running. (Don't worry, Mark Sanchez will find good work as a male swimsuit model or something.)
Ross' way of wooing people seems to be to throw big money and a bit of razzle dazzle their way. Remember the private jet ride and the fancy helicopter flight he tried to impress Jim Harbaugh and Jeff Fisher with?
Though, ESPN's NFL reporter Adam Schefter said on Mike and Mike in the Morning this, uh, morning, that while money may play a role, ultimately Manning wants to land somewhere where he can compete for another Super Bowl.
That seems to be where Ross tends to trip up: assuring his targets of their confidence and control to win.
Manning, if he's truly recovered (and reports say he likely will be), is the kind of player who can make any team an instant contender. The Dolphins do have a lot of offensive firepower in Brandon Marshall and Reggie Bush. The team is also reportedly open to also signing Manning's longtime teammate Reggie Wayne.
Undoubtedly Ross will bring his checkbook to the table, but will that be enough?
A chance to play Tom Brady twice a year could appeal to his competitive side (something the Jets can offer too), but makes a division championship all the more harder. Also keep in mind that signing with the Redskins would mean Manning would play his brother twice a year. Signing with the Jets means the two would split a city. We doubt it's a deal breaker, but we're not sure the media firestorm that ensued of some sort of Manning vs. Manning rivalry is something either brother really relishes.
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Manning does own an apartment on South Beach, and his wife is said to like the area. So that's a nice bonus.
That doesn't mean the team's weak defense, a first-year coach, and a widely despised general manager are necessarily things Manning will wave off, however.
Whatever the factors though, Ross and his staff need to convince Manning that he has a solid opportunity to win here in Miami. It's been something they've failed to sell in the past. Maybe they'll get it right this time.