Aaron Schatz, per his ESPN bio, covers the NFL for ESPN Insider and is the creator and president of Football Outsiders, which he launched in 2003. He contributes regularly to ESPN The Magazine and appears Wednesday and Thursday on "Numbers Never* Lie" on ESPN2. His work has also appeared in such places as The New York Times, Slate and the Boston Globe. Schatz is analytical by nature, you'd see this is pretty evident by stopping by Football Outsiders or delving into one of their proprietary statistical databases, so when he wrote that Peyton Manning's best fit in free agency is with the Seattle Seahawks, I admit I was a little surprised.
I'm biased, there's no doubt. I think Manning would be a great fit in Seattle, but when I take a step back I'm not sure that the Seahawks would be the best fit. There are plenty of teams in the NFL with need at QB, solid weapons on offense, and a strong defense, but Schatz explains why Seattle is at the head of the pack in a great ESPN insider article on Best Fits for NFL free agents.
We all know that Manning is 99 percent likely to be cut by the Indianapolis Colts by March 8, so let's assume he's healthy enough to play and figure out where he's going to go. The best fit for Manning probably depends on what he's looking for. Does he want a team more likely to make a Super Bowl run or a team where he can put up big numbers with a great receiver? If it's the latter, the clear choice is Arizona, where he can play with Larry Fitzgerald.
However, even in the NFC West, the Cardinals don't seem particularly close to a playoff appearance. Many observers believe that Manning fits best in Washington, because the Redskins have a good, young defense that could pair with a Manning-led offense to make a Super Bowl run. However, that's not a good reason for Manning to pick Washington over Seattle or Miami. Based on Football Outsiders ratings, the Redskins defense was ranked 14th last season, lower than Seattle (10th) or Miami (11th) -- and they play in the NFC East. Since the Seahawks have about twice as much cap space as the Dolphins and Flynn fits Miami as a cheaper, lesser alternative, we'll send Manning out west where he can try to teach Zach Miller how to be Dallas Clark.
For more on the Seahawks, head over to Field Gulls.