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Peyton’s Place

We were ahead of the curve on this post last week, so we’re updating it to generate some more discussion.

With the combine in the rearview mirror, the story of early March is going to be about what is sure to be the most coveted free agent in NFL history – Peyton Manning.

The Colts have decided to release Manning and will undoubtedly be replaced in Indianapolis by Andrew Luck. Luck will have a tall task ahead of him. Not only is he going to be asked to replace a legend, he’ll also likely be without both Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon.

As far as Peyton goes, he’s going to be an elite quarterback wherever he plays. Simply put, greatness will transcend any situation.

When Manning is on the free agent market and teams deem him to be healthy enough to play, there will be no shortage of suitors. Let’s take a look at some of the most likely destinations for Peyton and consider the impact it would have in dynasty leagues.

Miami Dolphins

Miami would certainly be one of the first teams in line to talk to Manning when he becomes available. Brandon Marshall has been quietly poking a stick at the front office to bring in a solid signal caller in replacement of Matt Moore and Chad Henne.

Having Manning in South Beach would be a boost to the short term value of Marshall, but also to Davone Bess, Anthony Fasano (if he restructures his deal), Brian Hartline, Charles Clay and Clyde Gates.

Outside of Marshall, The biggest beneficiary of having Manning sign in Miami could be Reggie Bush. Defenses would have no choice but to respect the pass more and that could leave some running lanes for Bush and Daniel Thomas. In addition, Bush could really benefit from the inevitable screen passes and check downs that would come with Manning at the helm.

If Manning was to play in Miami, Brandon Marshall would reclaim consideration as a legit WR1 (assuming he keeps his head on straight) and all the other skill players would get a nice little uptick in value.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins may be in the most dire of situations when it comes to quarterbacks. There’s little doubt that Mike Shanahan will be knocking on Peyton’s door as soon as he’s released. Shanny was on record about putting his career on the line when he went with Rex Grossman and John Beck last year. There’s little doubt he’s desperate to put that in the past and quickly make people forget that little quote ever happened.

There are serious questions about how Shanahan and Manning would co-exist, but let’s just assume Manning would have free reign over the offense if they sign him. After all, wouldn’t that really be a prerequisite for him even going there?

Manning’s presence in D.C. would give them what they hoped they were getting in Donovan McNabb – an elite veteran who makes everyone around him better. Those players would include Santana Moss, Jabar Gaffney, Anthony Armstrong and Leonard Hankerson.

The biggest beneficiaries of having Manning around next year in Washington could be Fred Davis and Roy Helu. Davis is a forgotten man in many dynasty circles after being suspended last year, but Chris Cooley isn’t expected to be back, making Davis a great “buy low” candidate this offseason. With Manning, his value would skyrocket to borderline TE1 status. As far as Helu goes, he’s a very talented pass catcher. Having Peyton at quarterback would do nothing but feature that unique ability.

Of course, Mike Shanahan will probably trade back in the draft and take Trent Richardson or sign a free agent running back just to prove he hates you and anyone who plays fantasy football.

Arizona Cardinals

Owners of Larry Fitzgerald have to be crossing their collective fingers that Manning finds his way to the desert. With Kevin Kolb struggling badly last year and John Skelton not looking like a long term answer, the Cardinals have to kick the tires on Manning when he’s let go. Releasing Kolb would be a major kick to the stomach considering what they let go, but getting Manning would be a nice bit of antacid to relieve that pain.

If Manning was to sign with Arizona, Fitzgerald would again have the chance to lead all of fantasy in scoring at the receiver position. In addition, you’d have to love the prospects of Andre Roberts and even hope for a nice resurgence from Todd Heap. I’d also keep my eyes on DeMarco Sampson as a nice sleeper candidate.

The value of Beanie Wells would likely be pretty neutral in this scenario. He may find some more room to run, but likely wouldn’t get the same pass catching opportunities as someone like Reggie Bush or Roy Helu would. You could make the case that Arizona will likely be in the red zone more, though. If Ryan Williams comes back strong, the running back position would get interesting in a hurry – Wells isn’t exactly Peyton’s kind of running back.

Arizona, Washington and Miami seem to be the most likely of destinations for Manning, but don’t rule out teams like Minnesota, Seattle, Jacksonville, Buffalo, Tennessee, the New York Jets or Kansas City. The Browns could even be in the mix if they don’t trade up for Robert Griffin III as expected.

With Manning, you have to expect he goes to a contender, which would rule out the Chiefs, Jags or Browns most likely.

Dynasty owners would have to hope for short term greatness season by season here, knowing Manning’s career could end rather abruptly if he gets injured again. At best, Peyton would likely have two or three more seasons left in him. At this point, you would have to compare this situation to that of Brett Favre’s in the recent past – you’re not going to know what to expect year to year, but you know if he plays, he can win you games by himself, regardless of where he’s playing.

In dynasty leagues, all eyes will soon be focused on Peyton and the whirlwind of tours he’s about to embark on. While the long term impact of his future decision will have more of a negative impact on some player’s long term dynasty value (Matt Moore, Kevin Kolb, Mark Sanchez, etc.), the short term burst of value he could give to his new teammates could be just the boost you could need to win a dynasty league title. Regardless of which team he ends up with, the dynasty landscape is about to change in a very serious and dramatic way.

So, where do you want to see Manning end up and why?

Ken Kelly
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Warhawks
10 years ago

Would love to see Manning stay in Indy and never play a down for another team. That’s a 100 to 1 long shot. Whichever team he choses it will be because they have a chance to win with him at the helm, and they agree to give up some control of the offense. For that last reason I think Washington is out. Miami, Arizona, I want this to be a clean fight, keep the hands above the waste and may the best team win.

Warhawks
Reply to  Warhawks
10 years ago

*chooses
*waist
Can’t spell today haha

Greg G.
Reply to  Warhawks
10 years ago

Read an article today that said King believes Miami is not a good fit. Arizona would be a wonderful spot for him because allegedly, they would be open to letting him run the offense. Can’t wait for things to start happening. I can’t see him going to a non- contender like Cleveland though. Love this site.

DLF_KenK
Reply to  Greg G.
10 years ago

Without question.

Places like Jacksonville, Cleveland, Buffalo, etc. would be extreme longshots for sure. Essentially, they can want him all they want, but he’d be hard pressed to go to any of those places.

The team I’d LIKE to pursue him is actually Houston. The other three teams in their division are all rebuilding.
Amazingly, if the Colts take Luck and release Manning, the three other teams in their division would likely be starting quarterbacks with a COMBINED 15 total NFL starts (Locker, Gabbert and Luck), with all of them coming from Gabbert.

Their time to win is now. I like Matt Schaub, but he’s no Manning.

Greg G.
Reply to  DLF_KenK
10 years ago

A move to Houston would make a lot of sense. The pieces are in place…defense, tight end, receiver, running back. But the question is, will they compromise loyalty to Schaub. Is Kubes willing to bend in order to bring him in. If he wants a ring, this is without question the top destination.

Reply to  DLF_KenK
10 years ago

i said this in a previous article that i thought manning may go to houston. manning wants it now with a team that contends for a bowl chance next year. both texas teams are the highest in speculation. never count jerry jones out when it comes to a “big splash”, but his loyalties are strong to romo? till peyton really is a freeagent? and houston is one bullet away from a fully loaded weapon?

Superman13732
10 years ago

My money is on Manning going to the Cards. The Dolphins will reunite Philbin with Flynn, the skins are going for youth in the draft, and manning and Fitzgerald are good friends and had a “Miami Heat Superfriends” dinner meeting superbowl week.

Reply to  Superman13732
10 years ago

i could see reggie wayne following peyton to wherever he goes also. zona and houston would be good for reggie also considering neither has a great #2 wr to take heat off their #1s?

Eric
10 years ago

By no means is Peyton done, but you have to at least consider that he may not play until 2013. Even if that were the case, a worst case scenario if you will, he will be back, and back with a giant chip on his shoulder. 1st to prove that he still is elite, 2nd to catch Eli. Imagine how fired up he will be knowing that his Hall of Fame career may be surpassed by his little brother.

Both Arizona and Miami would instantly become formidible, IF Peyton is indeed healthy.

hostile
10 years ago

I dont buy the Miami senario.

The organisation is one of the worst-run in football, and I just dont believe Manning could put up with Marshall and his idiocy.

Sensai_John_Kreese
10 years ago

If Manning goes to Houston, Shaub will become a hot free agent. Shaub is very good, people. Dude does not get enough credit. I’d love to have him in Buffalo. I’m shocked to hear you guys call him “average”, Ask Andre Johnson if he thinks Shaub is average.

Sensai_John_Kreese
Reply to  Sensai_John_Kreese
10 years ago

The best place for Manning to land, is San Francisco.

Josh G
Reply to  Sensai_John_Kreese
10 years ago

Well that makes little sense to me.

Are you stating this because you are a Niners fan? Or because they had an incredible season?
Surely it isnt because of the players on the offense..because there are much more favorable offensive teams (Dallas, NY Giants, GB, Atlanta, New Orleans…). Granted, likely none of those teams are looking for a new QB..but supposedly neither is SF. That said, Houston has a better RB situation than SF. They have comparable Ds. SF has a better TE and Houston has a better WR situation. So Houston would be more favorable…but Houston has a better QB..so..whats yer thinking here?

Sensai_John_Kreese
Reply to  Josh G
10 years ago

My thinking is that San Francisco is a qb away from a super bowl, Houston has a qb, and still has to allocate money to resign Arian Foster. What is YOUR thinking that Manning would even be a possibility in Houston?

I dont care who has a better “situation” at respective positions. A healthy Manning would make Crabtree an all pro player.

Josh G
Reply to  Sensai_John_Kreese
10 years ago

I am not saying its a possibility in Houston; I don’t pretend to be an insider. There simply has been rumor/speculation on here and other similar websites that surely you must have seen or read about Houston as being a good spot for him, so I addressed that. Its even in earlier posts above this that mention Houston as a possible healthy landing spot..

Sensai_John_Kreese
Reply to  Sensai_John_Kreese
10 years ago

actually the story i heard was that Manning has said that he would like to play in Houston, i just dont that as being feasible

Reply to  Sensai_John_Kreese
10 years ago

several football insiders are saying houston is an inside dark horse choice, because when manning is given his freedom…..he will be making the choice, not some GM. he plays them twice a year now. he knows what kind of team they have, and how he fits. and they should have been in the championship game if he’s there instead of tj yates???????

Mike
10 years ago

Considering I have Manning and Fitzgerald in one dynasty league and Fitzgerald alone in two others, I am hoping Manning goes to Arizona. Having Manning throw to Fitzgerald all year would be fantasy gold. If Wayne follows Manning to Arizona, they would have a very good offense next year and good definitely contend with SF for the division title.

San Francisco would also be a good fit from the stand point of being a Super Bowl contending team for Manning to play for. The offense isn’t great, but Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Frank Gore, and Kendall Hunter are not bad offensive options to be around Manning.

Detroitcity
10 years ago

I think Manning goes to either the Chiefs or Cardinals, with the Chiefs being the front runner. Here are my arguements for both places

Chiefs:
1.They have a very young, talented team on both offense and defense. Bowe/Baldin/Breaston/Charles/Moeki are nice weapons for a guy like Manning
2. They have a defensive minded coach in Romeo Crennel, who would likely be happy to let Manning call the shots on offense
3. They are in mediocre division and would have no competition outside of San Diego for the division title
4. Before signing S. Routt, and bringing back Bowe/B.Carr (assuming they are), they had over $60 million in cap space with Cassell still on the roster
5. Based on their position in the draft, they are in a great position to grab an OT like Reiff or J. Martin to build the OL and then grab a QB to groom under Manning like K. Cousins from Michigan State in the 2nd or 3rd rd

The fact that they dont play in a dome is really the only reason I could see Manning not wanting to go there

Cardinals:

1. Larry Fitzgerald
2. Whisenhunt would also likely allow Manning to run “his” offense their. He also has the experience of winning with an elite level veteran QB (warner)
3. They play in a dome

The reasons I dont see Manning going there are:

1. San Fran is a true contender in that division and could be for the next several years. You also have Seattle that really is only lacking a solid QB to be a legit contender and a young Rams team
2. I dont think the offensive pieces there right now fit Mannings style
3. Their salary cap situation will not be ideal after tagging or signing C. Campbell and they just invested a lot of money and a 2nd rd pick in Kolb.. im not sure they will be willing to give up on him this quickly

Greg G.
Reply to  Detroitcity
10 years ago

Beautifully written

10 years ago

i have read several articles that have been written by football insiders….one from cbs.com, one from NFP stating that houston and manning are interested in each other. thats why i posted that i feel manning would land in houston. schaub is coming off a lincsfrac foot injury. he may not be ready for the begining of he season? andre aint getting any younger. and they may let foster test the market? schaub seems to get hurt alot? manning would be a good fit. he wants a super bowl contender, not just a good upcoming team. he has one of the largest tv markets in the league there. why would’nt houston make sence?

Greg G.
Reply to  bigd
10 years ago

Because there have been articles to the contrary. Also, Foster testing the open market? Can’t see it. When asked if Manning was a possibility, they said no. Could be smoke and mirrors but I can’t see him going there with Schaub and Kubes running the offense. As stated above, Manning would more than likely want to run some variation of his offense in Indy. Kubes has his style and might not be willing to give that up. Why should he? They found good success with a rookie backup. With Manning out of Indy, and a healthy Schaub, the road is paved for future success.

Reply to  Greg G.
10 years ago

fair enough, but i will qoute 2 head coaches in the nfl that said the same thing…..”no matter what the situation we have at qb, you be a damn fool not to consider peyton manning if he was considering signing with you.” romeo crennell, rex ryan. don’t think kubes could adjust?

Greg G.
10 years ago

Now the speculation truly begins! I pray this isn’t stretched out too long. Let’s get him to Arizona so he can make me an even prouder owner of Fitzgerald!!!! Hey Manning…do it! (Ben Stiller voice)

chad
Reply to  Greg G.
10 years ago

God I hope it’s Zona. I have Fitz and Andre Roberts. Please Zona please!!!!

Chris R
10 years ago

Marshall Faulk was on NFL Network saying that he doesn’t think Manning will really consider an NFC team because the Manning family wants the possibility of a Manning-bowl.

And Eli forced his way from San Diego so they wouldn’t both play in the AFC.

Not sure how much this is true…but makes sense to some extent.

racer-x
Reply to  Chris R
10 years ago

I’m sure Faulk said it, but that sounds like the product of a 24 hour news cycle. I’m sure Peyton would enjoy an all-manning superbowl as much as he’d have enjoyed playing in last year’s superbowl in his own dome.

However, no disrespect to Eli, I really don’t think his plans entail much to do with Eli, other than not seeking an audition in NY. I mean, wouldn’t the redskins give us potentially three manning on manning scenarios?

It’s so difficult to make it to the superbowl, I’m sure Peyton is concerned with a) a contender b) a contender for the next 4 years and c) money.

You may be able to swap b with c, but a is still the top.

Rollllers
10 years ago

I have Peyton in 2 dynasty leagues. I’m also thinking he is gonna go to Arizona with a safety blanket from Indy like Wayne or Garçon. Arizona has plenty enough cap space. Besides the people mentioned above. I think LS Howlings would benefit. The only thing Arizona is really missing for the Peyton offense is a good tight end. There arent many good free agent tight end this off-season but I think Chris Cooley could be a nice fit.
Houston also could be an option they have all the things in place. Plus I’m sure Peyton would love kick Indy’s butt twice a year.

Sesame Street Thugz
10 years ago

It has been reported that Indy may release Dallas Clark. Could he reunite with Manning in a place like Arizona?

Josh G
Reply to  Sesame Street Thugz
10 years ago

source?

Sesame Street Thugz
Reply to  Josh G
10 years ago

Sorry, I’ve been gone and haven’t had time to find where I originally saw it but it looks like they cut Clark (and Addai) today.

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7664912/sources-indianapolis-colts-listening-offers-dwight-freeney

Camperhead
10 years ago

Miami and Arizona make the most sense. As an owner of both Larry Fitzgerald and Matt Flynn, I’m hoping it’s the latter. If I was a Manning owner, I’d have to think that these two and Houston (among the many rumored landing spots) would have to be my preferences.

Detroitcity
10 years ago

Like I said above watch out for the Chiefs. If Manning is willing to give up the warm weather or dome for home games, it just makes too much sense. The most recent numbers I have seen have KC with $37 million in cap room before Routt’s contract and tagging Bowe.. and that is WITH Cassel on the payroll. Cassel’s salary is only like $5.6 million this year, so they could just keep him as an insurance policy for Manning. I just dont think that Arizona and Miami have the pieces that KC does

On a side note, there is NO WAY Manning is going to Houston. For three reasons
1) Matt Schaub
2) Houston is cap strapped, especially after signing Foster
3) If the Texans didnt lose Schaub last year they probably wouldve been in the Superbowl w/o Manning

Also no way Manning goes to Denver, although I would love to see him squash Tebow down a little, its not gonna happen

Reply to  Detroitcity
10 years ago

inside sources say that denver could be actually one of the lead teams in the manning sweepstakes. if that is the case i would love to see tebow go to miami. they would really love the kid there like they did when he was at florida. why do you hate tebow, and why would ytou want to see him get “squashed” down a little? tim tebow is good for the game of football. his energy and pure love of the game and the real way its suppose to be played is lost in this world of over priced thugass prima-donnas? why would anyone that really loves the game not root for timm tebow to succeed? personally i disagree with every point you make. first off kc has less talent then miami or arizona. houston could be more of a place for manning to land then you think. none of the reasons you gave are reasons to keep manning from not join ing houston at all?

Reply to  bigd
10 years ago

the real thing is …..where does manning want to play, and where is he going to have his best chance to help a team win a championship is what he will choose. houston fits that bill to a tee. do you honestly think matt schaub would stop houston from signing peyton manning if manning was willing to make it work? you have one of the best young Ds in the league, one of the best olines and a great ground game, and andre johnson in the same place career wise and home wise as peyton manning…..you don’t have to be a genious to figure that one out.

Coach
Reply to  bigd
10 years ago

I don’t think he will go to Denver… but as a Demaryus Thomas owner… OMG i wish it would happen.

the clarion contrarian
10 years ago

perhaps he could go to the giants and backup his brother and learn how to be a clutch post season performer.

John
10 years ago

http://nfltraderumors.co/nfl-team-cap-space/

Cap Space people!!! KC looks like a winner to me. I like Detriotcity’s take.

Reply to  John
10 years ago

cap space is always a factor, but manning wants a championship for his legacy. money will play a second fiddle to that. he’ll take less and work a contract to fit a team that gives him the best shot? kc ain’t it for the championship. ariz. denver miami are better fits for that.

NFL247
10 years ago

https://twitter.com/#!/BrandonSpano/status/177967334324047872

Via rotoworld – Never heard of this guy before but we’ll see.

Sensai_John_Kreese
10 years ago

The more i hear, the more i start thinking that he IS going to Houston. He would have to take less money, but it just makes too much sense. Think about it, the Texans could sign Manning, then trade Shaub to the Dolphins, and use that 8th pick to potentially select Michael Floyd. Then turn around and use the 26th pick to select a TE like Coby Fleener.

Luke
10 years ago

^ There is no way, no how Miami trades the no. 8 pick for Schaub. Miami is likely the spot for Manning.

Sensai_John_Kreese
10 years ago

Yeah, no way the dolphins would give up a first round pick for a 30 year old top 10 qb with a reasonable contract.

I’m a bills fan, i would do that deal for the number 10 pick any day of the week. Twice on Saturday.

Detroitcity
10 years ago

in response to the previous posts:

@bigD- sorry to ruffle the Tebow feathers.. I shouldve known better. No but in all honesty I do like Tebow and I root for him more than most. He has heart and has the “it” factor and you cant take that away from him. The guy is a winner. The more people tell him he cant do something, the hard he pushes to prove them wrong and i love that. I shouldve chosen better words….my comment wasnt directed at Tebow personally, it was more directed at the media frenzy that surrounds him. I am just so sick of hearing about Tebow..its a good story dont get me wrong but it SO overplayed.. its like an Adele song on a top 40 station. Based on Tebow’s popularity there arent many guys that could go in to Denver and “squash” the media frenzy surrounding Tebow but Manning would do that. As far as Tebow going to Miami, it would make more sense for him to go to Jacksonville because that is where a larger part of his fan base from Florida stems from and they struggle to get fans to their games.. he would instantly attractive 5 – 10k more people at home games. As far as KC not having more talent and/or offensive weapons, are you kidding me??? Not only do they have Charles would IMO is a top 6 NFL back (also great in the passing game), Bowe is probably a legit top 12 NFL WR and his potential hasnt even been close to maximized.. thrown in Baldwin (a solid rookie w/ incredible size), a great slot guy like Breaston.. a TE like Moeki who can split out wide or play in tight… oh yea AND Mccluster who is a jack of all trades guy who Manning could utilize anywhere he wanted. For the record, from a fantasy perspective Gregg Rosenthal from Rotoworld agrees!

http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/nfl/40067/310/peytons-ideal-landing-spot?pg=2

As far as the Houston thing, while I agree it would be smart for Manning to go there strictly from a championship aspect, its not going to happen. To further my points made above, Peyton is a classy guy and do you honestly think he wants to stick it to the Colts twice a year. I mean who could blame him if he did, but I personally dont. Also factor in that the Texans offense is a run-first scheme and they were the #2 rushing team in the NFL last year.. they just gave Foster a $43 million contract… and I dont see why they would want to push their salary cap situation and sign manning. Schaub has threw for over 4300 yds and 24 TD’s in both 2009/2010 and was on pace for 4000 yd/ 24 TD last yr. He is not a piece of garbage. Im not saying he is “elite” but he is well above average. Ill admit if Houston is concerned about Schaub’s Lisfranc injury then sure I could see them signing Manning because Schaub’s contract is up after next year.. but all indications are that is not the case. Which is also why Schaub wouldnt have very good trade value right now and obviously wouldnt yield that #8 pick from Miami.

I do think Manning going to Denver is intriguing because of D. Thomas, Decker, Royal, and J. Thomas (i own D. Thomas in 2 dynasty lgs) but I dont see it happening because he doesnt fit John Fox’ style of play and they are a run-first team as well… which fits in well with their awesome defense. Also throw in the fact that they spent an entire year reconstructing their offense for Tebow and its hard for me to believe

I will leave you will an interesting tidbit, Sportsbook.com currently has the Chiefs as the 3rd most likely team for Manning to go to, behind Miami and AZ. I think the Chiefs are the Eagles last year during the Nnamdi Asomugha sweepstakes:

From Rotoworld:

“Chiefs owner Clark Hunt confirmed in an interview with NBC Sports Network that the Chiefs have interest in free agent Peyton Manning.
“He’s one of the greatest players in the history of the league,” Hunt said. “He’s also an incredible person. We feel really good about the team we have in Kansas City going into the 2012 season, but we’ll look for any opportunity to improve and, of course, that includes Peyton Manning.” Added Hunt, “He’s somebody that we’ll talk to.” For what it’s worth, the betting website SportsBook.com has the Chiefs as the third likeliest team to sign Manning. The Dolphins are the favorites, and the Cardinals are No. 2. ”

Sorry for the lengthy post, hopefully it was worth your while

Reply to  Detroitcity
10 years ago

good points and very well thought out and researched. i’m very impressed when someone does homework like that and earns an A for the effort.

Sensai_John_Kreese
10 years ago

of course that trade with Miami would be contingent upon Shaub being fully healthy. In which case, like i said earlier, as a bills fan drafting at 10…I couldn’t sign up fast enough to trade that pick for Shaub. Don’t see why the dolphins wouldn’t do the same if they missed out on Manning.

Everyone on sportstalk radio is suggesting that where ever Manning goes, a championship will soon follow. Manning has a 2 or 3 year window. He isn’t going to the Chiefs…or the Broncos..He needs to win right now. Where could he go and win quickly? He is a hall of famer, arguably the best qb to ever play the game. At this point in his career, however, he isn’t the best qb in the league.

In response to Detroitcity, maybe Manning needs to go to a “run first” style offense, considering the fact that he is one Jared Allen bull rush from being Mike Utley.

Detroitcity
Reply to  Sensai_John_Kreese
10 years ago

“In response to Detroitcity, maybe Manning needs to go to a “run first” style offense, considering the fact that he is one Jared Allen bull rush from being Mike Utley.”

Honestly dude you might be right haha

Sensai_John_Kreese
10 years ago

What do guys think about the Redskins giving up 2 firsts and a second to move up 4 spots?

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