Quarterback Peyton Manning is expected to be released by the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, according to an ESPN report.
Manning, winner of four NFL MVP awards and one Super Bowl championship, would become a free agent just as the Redskins are looking to fill their pressing need at quarterback.
Manning, who turns 36 on March 24, missed the 2011 season while recovering from multiple neck surgeries, including a cervical fusion procedure, he underwent last year. The Redskins are expected to at least evaluate Manning’s health to determine whether he can still play at a high level.
Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay is in the process of overhauling his organization. His decision to jettison Manning follows the hiring of a new general manager and head coach. The Colts are expected to use the first pick in the 2012 draft on a quarterback, probably Stanford’s Andrew Luck or Baylor’s Robert Griffin III.
By releasing Manning, the Colts would avoid paying him the $28 million option bonus due on March 8.
Manning has been throwing as part of a strength and rehabilitation program this winter at Duke University and in Florida. He has said that he plans to continue his career. Several teams are expected to explore the possibility of signing him. The list of teams could include Miami, Seattle, Kansas City, the New York Jets and others.
Manning ranks third on the all-time passing touchdowns (399) and yards (54,828) lists in 13 active seasons.