Peyton Manning will be a free agent.
An era is over in Indianapolis. The Colts and Peyton Manning will make the divorce official on Wednesday, according to Chris Mortensen at ESPN. The news comes as no surprise. It also signals the first act in the free agent quarterback market that will directly impact the St. Louis Rams ability to trade the second pick in the draft.
Where will Manning land in 2012? That remains to be seen. Cleveland is out of the running for Manning. Two NFC West teams, Arizona and Seattle, have been mentioned as possibilities.
Miami is another distinct possibility for Manning and a team that is an outside contender for the Rams' pick.
The real team to watch here is Washington. The Redskins have been one of two of the most likely suitors for the Rams pick and Robert Griffin III, along with the Browns. If Washington decides to make Manning their quarterback, the Rams lose a significant amount of trade leverage. It could mean less than three first-round picks for sure.
When Manning signs might make a difference in when the Rams can swing a deal. They are holding out the possibility of trading the pick early, but that might not be possible until Manning signs. And Manning does not need to rush himself.
The weeks ahead will be interesting.