Just curious, what would people think of bringing Manning in as a FA under a relatively short term deal, and NOT drafting a QB next year, with the plan for drafting his replacement a year or two down the line? If Manning could make us competitive right away, that would free us up to a) draft a developmental QB b) trade down and accumulate more draft picks and/or c) concentrate on the many other areas of need. Theoretically, the team could grow for a year or two with an experienced proven QB, thus allowing (hopefully) less of a learning curve and transition when the youngster was drafted and ready.
Not sure I agree with that, but I could see Shanny and Danny going for it, and convincing themselves that is the way to go.
EDIT: all of the above is predicated on Manning getting an absolute, unequivocal clean bill of health, not breaking the bank as a FA, etc.
EDIT (part II): You know, the more I think about this scenario, the more I think it depends on how we finish out this year. If we lose out, I think logic dictates that we aren't close, and we need a new franchise QB that will grow up with the rest of the youngsters. However, if we win a few more games, I really could see Shanny and Danny convincing themselves that we are close to being competitive and need a field general like Manning to put us in the playoffs, while pushing off the young QB for a couple of years.