Lombardi: Broncos 95% confident Manning coming to Denver

Per the master, Vic Lombardi:

Just heard from my peoples (sic). Broncos now 95% confident he'll sign with Denver. Their number, not mine...Broncos were contacted by manning TONIGHT

The Broncos wouldn't use this kind of language (would they?) knowing Lombardi is about to send this news out to the world.  The other 5%?  Let's call it the margin of error.  This is all but done, Bronco Country--according to someone.

UPDATE: Lindsay Jones and Michelle Beisner are throwing some lukewarm water on Vic's story.  Not sure what to make of the situation, but Lombardi has been all over this story from the beginning.  Someone inside Dove Valley believes the Broncos got them a HOF QB not named Elway.  The cook perhaps?

DOUBLE TROUBLE UPDATE:  Darren McKee, Andrew Mason, and Chris Mortensen (John Clayton's brother) himself are all saying the Broncos had no contact with Peyton Manning today.  From Mort:

Broncos official wants it known: Manning didn't call team today or tonight & inform they're 95% fave. Manning source already refuted to me

Okay, who in the hell hacked Vic Lombardi's twitter account in the last hour?  

TOTALLY TUBULAR TRIPLE UPDATE: Lombardi appears to be crumbling under the avalanche: 

Learning how powerful Twitter really is. Not trying to cause an uproar. Is this really life or death? Let's sit back and wait.

I'd hate to be Vic if the Broncos don't get Manning at this point because no, it really isn't life or death.  It's football.

Broncos expect Manning to choose by Monday night

11:45 PM No word yet if Tim Tebow plans to drop the "2" from GB². 

11:11 PM The way Doug Farrar hears it, the Chiefs aren't going quietly: Just talked to a reliable source in KC -- the Chiefs aren't out of it either. Productive meetings between KC and Peyton's people.

11:07 PM As Mike Florio reports, the Cardinals have serious work to do to create cap space if they want to sign Manning: The Cardinals are $16.4 million over the cap, as adjusted to reflect $2 million in 2011 carryover and $1.333 million in downward adjustments.  Amazingly, the Cardinals could have carried over $7.04 million.  They opted only to carry over $2 million.

Not sure why the Cards didn't carry over the full amount.  Did they not think this all the way until the end?

8:45 PM Klis reports that contracts were never discussed on either of Manning's visits to Denver and Arizona; Bowlen met with Manning for 20-30 minutes and Bowlen said he wants Super Bowls, not division titles; Brandon Stokley and John Lynch met with Manning while in Denver; Arizon was "red carpet" while Denver was "low key;" finally, Klis believes this could drag on until Tuesday if the Titans and/or 49ers were to make a run at Manning. 

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Manning “leaning toward Denver” Lard 3-11-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Peyton Manning is currently in Arizona to visit with the Cardinals after having departed Denver last night  . Expectations are that Manning will head back to his Miami home sometime tonight, potentially meet with the Dolphins at some point, and make his decision by Tuesday morning and the start of free agency.

Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen are reporting that Denver and Arizona are the favorites to sign Manning, who is apparently refusing Seattle's advances. Their source who spoke with Peyton sometime before his meeting with the Cardinals says Manning appears to be "leaning toward Denver."

Back in Denver, Woody Paige is pompously reminding us that he and Mike Klis were the first to report Manning's visit to Dove Valley despite having self-servingly written three days ago that Denver had no shot at landing the QB.

He says the two parties spoke for more than 15 hours between Friday and Saturday, and the Broncos apparently told Peyton they are willing to sign some of his fellow ex-Colts via free agency. According to Paige, Manning's people reached out to the Texans to gauge interest but were told the team is not interested (which John McClain of the Chronicle had made clear from the start).

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Jim Saccomano blends hubris and ass kissing

Jim Saccomano, Vice President of Public Relations for the Broncos, accomplished something today worth noting. He combined his typical effervescent I've been in this game longer than y'all have hubris and combined it with his other chief quality--namely, ass kissing.

First, he managed to bang out this tweet:

This is a constant Sacco theme, and it goes something like this: critics suck, but we know what we are doing over here. Of course, he said this before Josh McDaniels, during Josh McDaniels, and after Josh McDaniels.  He also did it before Tebow, during Tebow, and perhaps (now) after Tebow. In short, every decision the Broncos make is right, right now.  I'd find this sort of loyalty laudable if it weren't purchased with six figures.

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Manning in Arizona; Broncos confident

1:05 AM Steve Nash is now putting himself into the Manning chase on the side of the Cards.  "It'd be a great fit here," Nash said. "There is a good offensive line and the best wide receiver in the game (Larry Fitzgerald), so that speaks for itself."

11:44 PM Alfred Williams places the Broncos' chances of landing Peyton Manning at 90%, for what that's worth

11:30 PM Kent Somers: Peyton Manning is definitely in Arizona, sources confirm

8:40 PM Mike Florio: A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Manning currently is “making it up as he goes.”  Per the source, Manning never envisioned being in this situation, and he simply hadn’t planned for it...Which means that it will be critical for the various suitors to establish with Peyton a real connection that will allow him to believe it’s the right move, wherever he ends up moving...In this regard, there’s also a benefit to being the last team who meets with Peyton.  If it’s a close call, the folks he’s with when he’s close to making up his mind will have a decided advantage.

7:40 PM Fox31 in Denver: A source told FOX31 Sports that Manning’s visit went “very well” and Broncos management “feel(s) strongly they are the frontrunners at this point.  The source indicated that Manning feels there are “no negatives with the Broncos.” Peyton would like to make a decision by Monday, but by Tuesday at the latest.

Sounds like Arizona has a small window here to blow Manning away.  It better be all that and a bag of chips if they are going to beat John Elway.

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Recapping a wild NFL Friday Lard 3-10-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Friday was a remarkably eventful day for the Broncos - Peyton Manning spent at least 10 hours with the Denver leadership in Oklahoma, Dove Valley, and Cherry Hills, and there's a possibility the two parties will reconvene this morning. While Manning is expected to depart for visit(s) to Arizona and/or Miami, word is that no meetings have yet been scheduled, and there's thus always the slight chance Elway & Co. get Peyton to sign on before he can even make it out of town. Kansas City is asking Hey what about us?, but it's yet to be seen whether they're a real contender.

Less exciting for Denver was the announcement that D.J. Williams, Ryan McBean (six games each), and Virgil Green (four games) will be suspended for PED use, with allegations of non-human urine and the specter of federal lawsuits by the former two against the NFL adding to the drama. Green claims his suspension is for prescribed ADHD medication that he had failed to notify the NFL about initially, but he is cleared to take it going forward.

Elsewhere, Mike Shanahan ostensibly put all his chips in on Robert Griffin III, sending to St. Louis the #6 and #39 picks in this year's draft, plus Washington's first-rounders in 2013 and 2014, in exchange for the second-overall pick next month. There are reports that this move does not take Washington out of the Manning sweepstakes, but adding both RG3 and Peyton is wacky even by Shanny and Dan Snyder's standards, not to mention that signing in D.C. now makes even less sense for Manning than it already had.

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Gut Reaction: Shanny trading up to get RG3

Let me get this out of the way first:  Robert Griffin III is one hell of a quarterback.

It doesn't matter. It's a bad deal for the Redskins. There are times you go all in. This is not one of those times. It strikes a desparate chord on the part of Mike Shanahan.

NFL draft picks are not created equal, but all have a significant chance of going bad: they are more like bets on a roulette wheel than they are sure-fire franchise players (or starters, for that matter). The fewer bets you have--or in Shanny's case, the more you take from yourself--the less likely you are to get lucky and hit on something.  

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Washington acquires #2 pick from Rams for three first-rounders, one second-rounder

According to FOX's Jay Glazer, the Rams have agreed to trade the #2 overall pick and the presumable chance to draft Robert Griffin III to Washington for a mighty haul: St. Louis will reportedly get Washington's first-rounder this year (#6 overall) along with their 2013 and 2014 first-round picks, and then some. Adam Schefter is reporting that along with the three first-rounders, Washington will also send St. Louis a second-rounder which Albert Breer says is in this draft.

With Peyton Manning having it made it quite clear he's not considering D.C., Shanny & Co. obviously felt they needed to move swiftly and decisively, and that's precisely what they have done. However steep the price may be, the Browns apparently made a late push to make a deal with St. Louis, to no avail.

Williams, McBean banned 6 games for PEDs, non-human urine reportedly in samples

D.J. released a statement proclaiming his innocence, including:

Instead, the NFL contends that I provided a non-human specimen.  I have never failed a test of any kind – for steroids or illegal substances – during my eight-year pro career.  I am proud of my record and proud of the way in which I conduct myself as a professional athlete and citizen.

Green has also released a statement:

I was suspended for four games for taking ADHD medication prior to obtaining an exemption from the League.  I have now obtained the proper exemption to take the medication that has been prescribed to me to treat my condition.  I apologize to my teammates, coaches and fans for my mistake and will make sure to never let anything like this happen again.

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Thinking through Manning to the Broncos

Well, this is getting interesting.  With every passing hour, we hear more and more that the Denver Broncos are seriously in the Peyton Manning mix.  Doug had some really good stuff yesterday about this in the Lard, and I decided to share some thoughts about the possibility as well. 

1.  It will cost a lot, but the Broncos are well-positioned to pay.

If you believe Mike Freeman’s report from Thursday, the Broncos are the serious contenders along with Washington and Miami.  Neither team has the salary cap room that the Broncos have, but both have spendthrift owners who are very focused on the marketing impact of making big-splash signings.  Stephen Ross of the Dolphins is a guy who vastly overpaid for his team and has been spurned by both Jim Harbaugh and Jeff Fisher while trying to make big-splash coaching hires.

Ross will pay what it takes, and we all know that Daniel Snyder will as well.  The question is whether Pat Bowlen will.  If he were writing a check from his pocket, I doubt he would, but I think that the Broncos, as a corporate entity, are sitting in a good financial position and could afford to write a check for a $25 million signing bonus.  This is going to be a situation where it probably takes $100 million over four years to get a deal done, due to the market forces of free agency.  With so many teams in on Manning, there’s no risk discount available for his health either.

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