Early in this offseason, the San Francisco 49ers have been linked to potential free agent Peyton Manning. The Indianapolis Colts are at a cross-roads as they prepare to draft Stanford QB Andrew Luck and decide what to do with their current franchise QB. The 49ers are on a short list of teams that could potentially use Manning to upgrade their quarterback position for 2012 if the Colts elect to part ways with Manning.
One potential snag in this scenario is the neck of Manning. The Colts QB is coming off neck surgery that cost him the 2011 season and threatens his career. On Sunday afternoon, Peter King reported prior to the Pro Bowl that Manning was struggling to get healthy. Manning is due a $28 million roster bonus on March 8, which gives the Colts a little more than a month to figure out their next step.
While the neck injury might speed up a decision to release Manning, the injury could potentially cost Manning suitors once free agency starts. The 49ers are coming off an appearance in the NFC Championship Game and if they do kick the tires on Manning, they will need to decide if it is worth rolling the dice that Manning can stay healthy. Alex Smith is a free agent this offseason, but it seems like retaining him would not be all that difficult. If you factor that in, plus getting a full offseason with Harbaugh following his step forward in 2011, plus Manning's injury, it makes it all the more difficult to see the 49ers pulling the trigger on adding Peyton Manning.