For reference, here is this year’s NFL draft order:
1 Indianapolis Colts (want a QB)
2 St. Louis Rams (want to trade down)
3 Minnesota Vikings
4 Cleveland Browns (want a QB)
5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6 Washington Redskins (want a QB)
7 Jacksonville Jaguars
8 Miami Dolphins (want a QB)
9 Carolina Panthers
10 Buffalo Bills
11 Kansas City Chiefs
12 Seattle Seahawks (want a QB)
– Andrew Luck
– Robert Griffin III
– Matt Flynn
– Peyton Manning
Ryan Tannehill is the wildcard, who some are projecting as high as #6 to the Redskins. That could make things quite interesting for Seattle.
SCENARIO #1: Manning Signs With Denver. Flynn Signs With Miami. Washington decides it like Tannehill at #6 instead of trading up for RG3.
The Dolphins are already the obvious choice for Flynn for the same reasons it is mentioned as a good choice for Manning. They have a good running game, good weapons, a good receiver, and Flynn also gets to play with his old offensive coordinator. A number of sites have mentioned the Redskins being interested in Tannehill, especially because he fits the mold of what Mike Shanahan wants in his quarterbacks. This scenario would leave the Browns as the only other bidder for RG3. It would drastically reduce the value of that #2 choice, possibly to the point that St. Louis would rather pick someone like Ryan Kalil or Justin Blackmon than trade down. The Vikings could be the beneficiary as the Seahawks could be eager trade partners. How much would the Browns surrender to move up one spot? The Seahawks very likely could overwhelm the Vikings if they wanted to. The Vikings would have all the more reason to move down if Kalil gets taken at #2.
SCENARIO #2: Manning Signs With Denver. Flynn Signs With Cleveland.
Not the likeliest of scenarios, but worth a look. This would mean the market for the Rams pick would drop considerably. Every team knows the Rams won’t pick a QB, and would just need to target the Vikings, Browns or Bucs pick to have a shot at RG3. The Redskins would be the likely winner, leaving Miami with a choice of taking Tannehill. They are looking for something more, so they probably would stick with Matt Moore in that scenario and the Seahawks could have a chance at Tannehill at #12.
SCENARIO #3: Manning Signs With Washington. Flynn Signs With Cleveland.
Also, not likely, but this would guarantee the Seahawks could end up with either RG3 or Tannehill. The Rams would probably trade with the Dolphins to keep RG3 out of the division, but if not, very little would separate the Dolphins pick at #8 from the Seahawks pick at #12 in terms of starting compensation to move up.
SCENARIO #4: Manning Signs With Houston.
Matt Schaub becomes available, and a great option for the Seahawks.
SCENARIO #5: Manning Signs With Miami.
This would hurt the market for Flynn, and increase the chances he would come to Seattle on their terms (e.g., open competition, incentive-laden deal). The Redskins are a possibility, but would probably be happier to stay put and get a young quarterback in the draft.
SCENARIO #6: Manning Signs With Arizona. Flynn to Miami. Kevin Kolb Released, Signs With Washington or Cleveland.
Browns GM Tom Heckert is from Philly, and knows Kolb. Don’t ever underestimate the value GMs place on being able to use their draft choices on the best player available instead of being forced to fill a need. The Browns also have shown the desire to move back and accumulate picks. This would allow them to do that. Kolb is not as likely in Washington, but could be a fit in Miami, which would leave Flynn searching for a home. Again, this scenario would whittle the RG3 competition to two teams, Seattle and either Washington or Cleveland.
SCENARIO #7: Manning Signs With Dallas.
Tony Romo becomes available, and a great option for the Seahawks. Pretty unlikely.
It should be clear from all these that Manning’s free agency stands to help Seattle no matter what. We just don’t know how yet.