It's a given that Washington will aggressively pursue former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. He's been one of the league's dominant figures for the past 14 years, and the Redskins desperately need a quality QB.
The bright side with Manning is that acquiring him won't cost anything but money. The Skins won't have to give up draft picks to get him -- just a chunk of their $40 million in cap space. The downside: no one is quite sure what Manning has left in the tank.
A thorough physical and a multi-day workout that involves Manning making every throw on the team's route tree is a given. They cannot rely on a one-day workout because they need to know how he recovers. And they have to know the condition of his neck, the likelihood of re-injury, and how his condition might affect his play as the season wears on.
That physical and the skill of the team's doctors will be critical. Let's be honest: if Manning was 100% healthy, there's no way the Colts would have released him.
For a moment, let's assume Manning checks out and Washington gets him signed. Addressing the major deficiency at QB gives Washington flexibility to address the rest of their needs list.
Getting Manning leaves Washington with the following needs:
offensive line -- 2-3 starters
cornerback -- 1-2 starter-quality players
wide receiver -- a #1 playmaking pass-catcher
safety -- at least 1 starter
inside linebacker (if London Fletcher departs)
running back -- depth or a starter
And another quarterback. Yes, even if Washington signs Manning.
Signing Manning gives the Skins some options. It removes the urgency of trading up to get Robert Griffin, III. They could sit still at 6 and select Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill. Or, they could trade back to get extra picks, address other needs in the first round, and then use a 4th or 5th round pick to take Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins or Nick Foles.
If they stay at 6, they could end up choosing between LSU CB Morris Claiborne or Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon. If they trade down, they could fill multiple needs with their additional picks.
Plus, they'd still have cap space available to sign a proven performer like Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson, Saints guard Carl Nicks, or Chiefs CB Brandon Carr. With the cap room available, they should be able to sign several free agents.
Of course, all these options are contingent upon a lot of "ifs." If Manning passes the physical. If Manning can throw at an NFL level. If he's willing to sign with the Skins. It sure would be nice to have some options.