When considering the Manning/Luck debate, one must consider what is best for the franchise. The basic argument boils down to whether we should keep Manning and trade Luck for picks to help now or keep Luck and let Manning go and start over. Let me break this down as I see it.
Keeping Luck means letting Manning go. This is not another Favre/Rodgers scenario. Luck seems to be a surefire NFL QB. He may never be as good as Manning, but I've heard it said by people smarter than me that he is ready to be as good as Matt Ryan from day one. Luck will not lead this team to Super Bowl contention in 2012, but will give the Colts a franchise QB for the next 12 years. With that in place, we could build a new Colts team that will contend for titles for another decade. I would assume that keeping Luck will mean we will let some of our older veterans like Reggie Wayne go as well. This would free up some money for us to pick up a FA or two to help in the future, but I would expect another two or three years of top 15 picks before we became a perennial 10 win team, assuming we made good picks (which we have failed to do for some time). I would hope we would build a team around a solid defense and a running game, with Luck making the best of his WRs. I think it was a big mistake to invest in so many offensive weapons with Manning at the expense of our defense. Manning, Brady and other top QBs have shown that a good QB can make an average WR into a good WR (see Stokley, Collie, Blair Austin, Deion Branch, etc...).
The other possibility is to keep Manning and trade Luck for picks. This would be a huge gamble. It would rely on Manning's health and on the Polians to make the right picks. Manning would have a hard time getting this team into the playoffs, and I think a SB is an unreasonable expectation. Therefore, the Polians would have to hit on every pick this year and next year to give the Colts another shot at a SB. It could also leave us without a successor to Manning should he get hurt or retire. I think the odds of the Colts hitting on enough picks to return a Manning-led Colts team to the SB to be fairly small.
The Colts don't owe Manning anything. He is getting paid millions of dollars to do nothing this year, and loyalty to a player should never be a deciding factor. My opinion is that I would rather see the Colts compete for 15 more years than risk it all on the next 3. I'm a huge Manning fan and would wish him all the best. I would even consult with him to see where he may want to go. If any loyalty should be paid to Manning, it should take the form of letting him go where he wants to go instead of trading him to some awful team for him to play out his last years in mediocracy. When he is done playing, give him any job in the organization he wants, be it GM or Head Coach or beer guy.
The Colts are a professional football team and I expect them to make the professional decision and start again with Andrew Luck. I would love to hear everyone else's opinions as to why we should keep Manning or keep Luck, just please frame it as to why it would be the best thing for the franchise.