Breaking down the current state of the free-agent market is simple: Peyton Manning is the central figure. His decision will affect many others.
The Dolphins, Titans, Cardinals and Broncos are all in the hunt for the legendary QB. The Broncos and Titans are the favorites in the chase, but the Dolphins and Cardinals need to operate with extreme caution until they know for sure they are out.
This means there’s a lot of money that these teams will hold onto until Manning makes his decision. The Titans are interested in Mario Williams, but Manning holds up a serious pursuit. They also have interest in John Abraham, but they’re waiting for Williams to make a choice. Williams is in Buffalo with a big offer in front of him, but he’s waiting to see if other teams get in.
The Cardinals will want to make a move on Kevin Kolb, but they wait for Manning’s decision. The same goes for the Broncos, who will shop Tim Tebow immediately if they learn Manning is theirs.
Matt Flynn, meanwhile, is patiently waiting for his market to heat up. The Dolphins could make a run at him, but they won’t until they know for sure Manning is out.
Manning creates a trickle-down effect that will congest the market until he decides.
Follow Jason La Canfora on Twitter @JasonLaCanfora.