Late For Work 1/31: Caldwell Hiring Not A Ploy To Get Manning

One more rumor to dispel, Ravens ‘should want’ Birk back, Kyle Boller for Vince Wilfork?

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 at 9:08 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Caldwell Hiring Not A Ploy To Get Manning

Let’s set the record straight.

The Baltimore Ravens hired Jim Caldwell as their quarterbacks coach for a very specific purpose. And the purpose centers on Joe Flacco, not Peyton Manning, despite what you may be hearing.

“[Caldwell] isn’t expected to bring Peyton Manning along, so let’s quickly end that rumor,” wrote ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.

Added’s John Eisenberg, “I’ve seen several rumors about Baltimore being a possible landing spot for Manning. … But while it makes for interesting conversation, the Ravens have no interest whatsoever in [such a] move.”

Here are five reasons why bringing Manning to Baltimore would make little to no sense, according to Hensley and Eisenberg:

  • It could potentially harm long-term plans with Flacco. The Ravens are already expected to begin contract extension talks with Flacco this offseason. It “wouldn’t make sense” to add Manning for the short term.
  • It would “disrupt [the Ravens'] locker room chemistry.”
  • It would “destroy” the team’s salary cap calculations.
  • It would signal “a fundamental change in how [the Ravens] operate.”
  • Manning is still recovering from serious neck surgery.

Why risk so much for a 36-year-old quarterback that can’t even guarantee he’ll even be able to play at all next season?

“Such speculation is beyond pointless,” Eisenberg wrote.

One More Rumor To Dispel

While we’re at it, let’s go ahead and shoot down one other conspiracy theory.

Caldwell is not here to replace Cam Cameron as the offensive coordinator.

If the Ravens were unhappy with Cameron, they wouldn’t have announced his continuation with the team four days ago. His contract was set to expire this offseason. If they really wanted Caldwell over Cameron, they wouldn’t have bothered with a new contract for Cam.

“They’ve also committed to Cameron, whose offense ranked in the top half of the league this season and finished with a strong performance in the AFC Championship Game [nine] days ago,” wrote Eisenberg. “After coming so close to making the Super Bowl this season, the Ravens are opting for continuity and stability over change and drama. Caldwell, who has coached a handful of successful pro and college quarterbacks, is being brought in as a supporting cast member, strictly to help Flacco try to continue to improve.

“It’s a smart, low-key hire that could pay dividends in 2012, and that’s all the Ravens are thinking about, nothing more.”

For more on the real reason why the Ravens hired the “QB Whisperer,” Eisenberg breaks down Caldwell’s credentials beyond tutoring Manning.

Where Will Manning Land?

So if Manning isn’t coming to Baltimore, many are wondering where the four-time Super Bowl MVP will end up if he doesn’t return to the Colts.

Some pundits, including Los Angeles Times’ Sam Farmer and Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, believe Manning’s career is over.

Nobody is completely willing to write him off because if anyone can work back from such a serious injury, it’s Peyton Manning, who has already endured two previous neck surgeries.

Assuming Manning does get healthy enough for a franchise to decide to build its team around him, the most “logical destination teams” are the Jets, Redskins, Dolphins and Seahawks, according to Chicago Tribune’s Dan Pompei.

“It would be very much in character for Rex Ryan to make a splash by going after Manning, though it would mean the end of Mark Sanchez,” wrote Pompei. “Redskins owner Dan Snyder has a history of pursuing big-name veterans. The Dolphins have made it clear they want a QB upgrade. And the Seahawks could be instant contenders with Manning.”

Nick Fierro of The Morning Call also sees the Jets as the team most likely to make a move for Manning.

“No quarterback in the NFL today could do more to unify the supposedly fractured Jets locker room than Peyton Manning,” wrote Fierro. “His decision-making alone, in and out of the pocket, would have been huge this season, for sure. … They’d be fools not to take a run at Manning. He’d do nothing but help their aging squad win right away, and he might even provide current struggling starter Mark Sanchez a chance to reset his career and step in as a starter again when Manning departs after a year or two.”

Ravens ‘Should Want’ Birk Back

It doesn’t look like much has changed since center Matt Birk spoke to the media after the Ravens AFC championship loss.

At the time, he said he wanted to take time to weigh retirement against returning to the Ravens for a fourth season, which would be the 15th of his career.

He appears to still be in that decision-making mode.

Birk told Mike Florio on PFT Live that he’ll wait to make an official decision after his body “heals up.” He added there is no injury serious enough to require surgery.

Of course, for Birk to play with Baltimore again, a new deal would be required.

“His contract is up in Baltimore, so they’ll have to want him back,” wrote Florio. ”But they should want him back.  He has started every game in his three seasons with the team.

“For a team that seems to be determined to finish the job after coming tantalizingly close to a Super Bowl berth, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Birk return.”

Quick Hits

  • Classic Ray Lewis … the Ravens linebacker surprised Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton with a phone call at a time when the young quarterback was struggling with a 1-5 start. “Baby boy, whatcha so mad about?” Lewis asked Newton. “Listen here, you ain’t going through nothing that anybody that is great hasn’t been through.” Lewis reminded Newton that it took he and the Ravens four years to get to a .500 record.  “This isn’t who you are. Why ain’t you smiling? Get a damn smile on your face.”  [ESPN The Magazine/]
  • The Ravens special teams unit had its struggles, but no coaching changes appear imminent. []
  • Bloomberg unveiled its Power 100 list, revealing the 100 most influential athletes in sports, both on and off the field of play. Ray Rice and Terrell Suggs were the two Ravens that made the list at Nos. 44 and 91, respectively. []
  • Kyle Boller for Vince Wilfork? Remember when the Ravens traded their 2003 second-round pick and their 2004 first-round pick to the New England Patriots in order to move up and select Boller with the 19th overall selection? Turns out, that 2004 first-rounder was used to pick Wilfork, who wreaked havoc in the AFC championship game. [ESPN]

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