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Theismann: Redskins signing Manning would be “horrific idea”

Joe Theismann

Former football great, Joe Theismann walks the red carpet before the start of the N.J. Hall of Fame induction ceremony at New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, N.J., Sunday, June 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)


Redskins fans seem understandably excited about the possibility of adding Peyton Manning this offseason.

Perhaps the biggest fan of them all -- former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann -- is not so excited.

“It’s not a good idea, it’s not a bad idea -- It’s a horrific idea,” he told 106.7 last week via DC SportsBog. “It would be one of the poorest things that we could do as a franchise. Are we gonna go find another guy for just a couple of years again? Haven’t we done this before? Haven’t we seen this act before? And by the way, if you get Peyton Manning, don’t you have a concern about protecting him? Don’t you have a concern about who he throws the football to?”

We understand Theismann’s concern, but signing Manning isn’t like picking up Bruce Smith or Deion Sanders. It’s a roll of the dice on Manning’s health, but the potential reward is worth the considerable gamble.

If Manning is actually healthy and resembles the old Peyton Manning, he’s worth more than the Redskins can pay him. Washington hasn’t been able to find an answer at quarterback for years. If you are going to start all over again, why not with an all-time great?

“We’re tired of looking for stop gaps,” Theismann said. “It’s time to draft one of your own, or make a deal for a young one of your own, and nurture him, and then put the players around him. If we’re gonna be 5-11, if we’re gonna be 6-10, let’s do it with somebody who’s [learning as he goes], instead of guys that have been here, making mistakes.”

Mike Shanahan won’t be the coach anymore if the Redskins go 6-10 again. And a healthy Manning should make any team with a decent defense a contender. Washington’s defense is plenty talented.

There’s no rule that says the Redskins couldn’t develop a young quarterback while Manning is there. And there’s really no guarantee the Redskins will find someone worth developing.

No matter what Theismann thinks, we expect the Redskins to be at the front of the line of teams doing everything possible to sign Manning.