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Peyton Manning to the Redskins? It almost happened in 2012

Peyton Manning to the Redskins? It almost happened in 2012

When the Indianapolis Colts released Peyton Manning in March of 2012, the quarterback became arguably the highest-profile free agent in NFL history. Manning would end up signing with the Broncos and have a storied second-act of his career, leading Denver to a Super Bowl title in 2015.

But before Manning ultimately decided on signing with the Broncos, he visited with other clubs, including the Redskins. The quarterback had a history with then-Washington head coach Mike Shanahan and said in an oral history of his free agency in The Athletic that he was interested in playing for the Burgundy and Gold at the time.

After taking his initial visit to the Broncos on March 9 and 10th, Manning had some extra time before he left Denver. Then, he went to Shanahan's house, where the head coach and then-Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan broke down the team's offense.

Manning was intrigued and interested in signing with Washington. That feeling was mutual, as both Shanahan's wanted the Pro Bowl quarterback to come to the nation's capital.

"We were very much interested in Peyton at that time," Mike Shanahan told The Athletic. "I mean, I followed his career. I know him quite well, so I feel like we had an excellent chance to get him. But knowing that Eli [Manning] was in the NFC East, it surely wasn’t a slam dunk."

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However, any chance the Redskins had of landing Manning took a significant hit the day prior to the quarterback's home-visit with the Shanahans.

On March 9, the Redskins traded up from the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to the second selection. With that pick, the Redskins would select the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.

With the Redskins moving in a different, younger direction at the quarterback position in Griffin, signing Manning didn't make sense for Washington.

"I had known Mike for a long time, played for him in a Pro Bowl, and we’ve stayed in touch, and so I felt comfortable talking to them," Manning told the Athletic. "But they had made a trade for the second pick of the draft, which they ended up taking Robert Griffin III. So as soon as they made that trade, even Mike kind of knew that eliminated them. It just wasn’t going to make sense. Kind of like the Colts, they were obviously going to go with a quarterback in the first round."

Griffin's tenure with the Redskins started off incredibly, as the quarterback led Washington to their first division title in 13 years as a rookie. But over the next three years, between injuries and other factors, Griffin would never return to his rookie form. He was released by the Redskins following the 2015 season, the same year Manning won a Super Bowl with Denver.

RELATED: THE RISE AND FALL OF ROBERT GRIFFIN III

It may be unfair to play the what-if game eight years after the fact, but it's surely worth wondering how different things would have been had the five-time MVP come to play in Washington instead of Denver.

"I think Peyton was disappointed. Kyle and I were kind of surprised that he still wanted to meet with us," Shanahan told the Athletic. "I can remember talking with [Broncos GM John] Elway one time not too long ago, a few years ago. He said, 'Mike, do you realize that Peyton, I think, was going to go to your place? I think he really wanted to go to your place more than our place.' I said, 'Really? I didn’t know that.' And that came from John. I knew we were fairly close."

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Peyton Manning's rookie year shows why Redskins should be patient with Dwayne Haskins, one former GM says

Peyton Manning's rookie year shows why Redskins should be patient with Dwayne Haskins, one former GM says

As the Redskins set to begin a new era of Washington football, Dwayne Haskins' development in Year 2 as a full-time starter will likely dictate where the team goes in the short term. 

Based on his production last season, it's hard to pinpoint who Washington fans should expect under center. The player who completed 54% of his passes for an average of 165.3 yards per game and got sacked 18 times over his first four starts, or the guy who completed over 67% of his passes for five touchdowns and just one interception over his last three games.

If you ask longtime executive and Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Polian, inconsistency isn't new for young quarterbacks. With Haskins entering his second season in the NFL having to learn a new offense under Scott Turner after just one year of starting experience in college, Polian acknowledged the young signal-caller needs to be afforded some time. 

"Dwayne Haskins is essentially a work in progress," Polian said on The Sports Junkies Monday. "You've got to give him a chance to get his feet wet and feel comfortable in the offense -- he's going to be learning a new offense -- but he has the tools and the thing that's nice about him is that he can do it with his feet and he can do it with his arm. And he seems to me to have the kind of poise and approach to things that you need in a quarterback."

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Polian has one of the colder takes of recent memory after suggesting Lamar Jackson should move to wide receiver, but make no mistake, he's an all-time great general manager. He helped build the Bills teams that made it to four straight Super Bowls and began an incredible run with the Colts by drafting Peyton Manning, who didn't exactly start his career off on the right foot. 

"It's going to come slowly, it does for every quarterback," he said. "Peyton [Manning] had an awful rookie year, but the arrow was up when [his career] was over. He learned a lot from the experience. I think Dwayne has already learned a lot and he'll be a lot better this year, but it'll take him time to learn a new system."

As a rookie, Manning threw a league-high 28 interceptions and only managed to lead the Colts to a 3-13 record. Indianapolis stuck with their guy, and he turned into one of the all-time greats. 

This doesn't mean Haskins is going to become the next Peyton Manning or that's where the expectation should be. But players like Manning, Drew Brees and Troy Aikman serve as an example for quarterbacks that bounced back from underwhelming rookie seasons.

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In The Loop: 'The Match' best moments, McCaffery shows off hands

In The Loop: 'The Match' best moments, McCaffery shows off hands

First up in our look around the sports world on this Memorial Day, during the champions for charity golf match this weekend, Tom Brady has quite the day. From being taunted by Peyton Manning and Charles Barkley, to ripping his pants, to making a birdie on the seventh hole earning a $100,000 donation to charity from Brooks Koepka it was a roller coaster kind of day.

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Oh no, Tom 😂 Watch #CapitalOnesTheMatch on TNT

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Next up, Christian McCaffery shared this video of his quarantine workout. An incredible behind the back catch, and let it be known this was a severely under thrown ball - show off!

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CMC just showing off 😳 (via @christianmccaffrey)

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Lastly, Nashville Predators left winger Colin Wilson isn’t a regular dad, he’s a cool dad. This video of him taking his pup for a ride on a scooter is everything you needed to see today.

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Influential

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