So Peyton Manning is a free agent. Now what?
Make no mistake, Manning is now for sale and he’s calling the shots. Teams will soon begin making their pitches to Team Manning, rolling out the red carpet as well as their arguments to why they present the best fit.
Meanwhile, a host of local and national media members have aired their educated opinions and reports on NFL Network, detailing the latest buzz:
In Seattle, Danny O’Neil of The Seattle Times says the Seahawks believe they are on the cusp of contending. Some would believe the ‘Hawks are just a quarterback (not named Tarvaris Jackson) away from contending, and O’Neil points out the charm and recruiting expertise of coach Pete Carroll don’t hurt. Plus, there are the deep pockets of owner Paul Allen in play. O’Neil expects the Seahawks to be “heavily” involved. Perhaps the fact Seattle is a mid-size market, similar to Indy, would help sway Manning. NFL Network’s Albert Breer reports the Seahawks have already reached out to Manning’s camp.
The Cardinals’ pursuit of Manning could happen quickly, and the team has incentive. Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic describes the Cardinals as “intrigued” and said he fully expects the organization to reach out to Manning Wednesday. The Cards have a small window to pursue Manning, as they owe Kevin Kolb a $7 million roster bonus if he’s on the roster on March 17. In Somers’ view, the Cardinals will kick the tires on Manning, but are comfortable heading into a second season with Kolb. League sources have told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora the Cardinals are one of the team who will pursue Manning. As Darnell Dockett pointed out, the Cardinals have a lot to offer.
Like most other teams, Mike Klis of The Denver Post suggests the Broncos are having discussions about adding Manning. Klis doesn’t believe the Broncos will seriously make a run at Manning, and says Tim Tebow has earned the right to return as the starter after taking the team to the playoffs. According to La Canfora, the Broncos have already called to express interest in Manning.
League sources told La Canfora the Redskins have put in a call to Manning, but the team likely isn’t close to winning. While in Washington, D.C. Wednesday La Canfora suggested the biggest question is whether or not the Redskins can really sell Manning on the job. The Redskins don’t have an established offensive line or an elite receiver, although they do have salary cap space to make additions. Geography is one of the ancillary factors that could also play against Manning landing with the Redskins, as he would have to face younger brother Eli twice each season. La Canfora says the Redskins won’t be deterred from trying.
NFL.com’s Jeff Darlington has close ties to the Dolphins, and his sources describe a mentality in which the team believes it is a quarterback away from being a contender. That win-now mode would seem to suit Manning well. Darlington believes Dan Marino might be an ace in the hole for the Dolphins, and La canfora reported the Dolphins have put in a call to Manning. The Dolphins could be in a position to outspend other teams, but does Manning view them in the same light as the team does internally?
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