With the tension of the Manning issue burning up Broncos Country, and feelings of frustration rising over Denver having added no players yet, it’s easy to miss who’s still available. In addition, new players, many of whom are quality guys who believe that the market will pay more than they are currently being offered, come into free agency daily as they fail to reach accords with their teams. That’s exactly as we will see happen in Denver. We often get ‘stuck’ at the beginning of the FA period in our thinking about the big targets, but a lot of upgrades are out there. Let's check in on a few players who are still available, although they may go quickly:
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Peyton Manning spent 6.5 hours at Titans headquarters last night and, according to Titans owner Bud Adams, took a call from the governor of Tennessee while he was there. According to David Climer, Manning is intrigued by the idea of finishing his pro career where he played his college ball, and word is that Adams may be dangling a front-office position and/or partial team ownership to sweeten the pot for Peyton.
As for when he'll make his decision, Mike Freeman hears Peyton is shooting for Sunday at the latest, and he thinks Denver is still the frontrunner. According to Freeman, some of the teams Manning already visited with (Denver, Arizona, Miami) have been calling the QB during his travels to and/or visits with the other teams, to remind him why their team/city is best for him. Was there any doubt this occurs?
Mike Klis says that before turning their attention to Manning, the Broncos were content to sign a backup for Tim Tebow the likes of Josh Johnson and draft another QB in the first three rounds.
Woody's latest mailbag posted today; fortunately, we got our hot little hands on a copy of the unedited version:
But how does that affect the future? Why get rid of the young Tebow for two old men? - Jamal, Portsmouth, Va.
I keep hearing that it'll be great for Tim Tebow to sit behind Manning for a few years and learn the quarterback position. That's complete nonsense, right? - Rachel Gray, Arcadia, Calif.
Jamal, I won't tell you that. I don't want to spoil your day. I didn't really see a question there anywhere. It's a mailbag, so I guess you can just make statements. Rachel, You don't need my help, either, right? Agreed? Uh, it's a good thing I'm going back to spring training today. I don't have to spend much time and energy on this. You keep hearing? From your bartender or hair stylist?
Jamal, that's a black name, isn't it? Did you know that back when I was growing up in Tennessee in the 50s, black people weren't even allowed to ask questions? You know all this talk about Peyton Manning wanting to go to the Titans because his wife is from there? Let me tell you something: Never, ever make a major life decision based upon some stupid woman.
Rachel, thanks for reading, I guess. I'd rather pinch your ass than answer your question, though. Sounds like you get your news from one of those snot-nosed blogger kids. You should probably go back to your knitting.
1:49 am Missed this earlier, but Mortensen says the Broncos are still in the hunt, but is willing to talk to other teams.
Translation: Tom Condon is still looking for ways to jack up the price.
1:00 am Andrew Mason: For the record, I believe the chances of a Peyton Manning "lifetime" contract passing NFL muster are slim to none.
12:30 am ESPN confirms Bud Adams did not attend meeting between Titans and Manning.
12:12 am KHOU TV, Houston: Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams tells KHOU 11 Sports reporter Matt Musil that he has offered free agent quarterback Peyton Manning a contract "For Life" to stay in Tennessee...Bud Adams added that he "feels great" about their chances to land Manning.
Well now, isn't this precious. Adams hasn't just been sippin' on grandpa's cough medicine, he is the cough medicine. No word yet on how Adams fits this under the cap.
11:55 pm As we approach midnight, my friends, who ya got? El viejo loco, Bud Adams, or el hombre, John Elway?
Personally, I'm waiting for Bud Adams to show up to Dove Valley with a shotgun and scream, "you kids get off my lawn!"
11:35 pm Vic Lombardi: I'll say this again, the longer Manning takes to make his decision, the better for the Broncos. As long as he decides before the draft...The Titans team doctor who examined Manning tonight is named Burton Elrod ..... advantage Broncos.
New thread above
3:41 PM John Clayton: Buffalo still has Mario Williams locked in at their facility trying to convince him to be a Bill.
3:35 PM Browns S Mike Adams says he'll be visiting the Broncos; Adams has played fivee seasons in Cleveland after three with San Francisco. Last year he had three INTs, six passes defensed, and solo 41 tackles in 16 starts.
3:28 PM Mike Freeman: The plane carrying Manning has landed in Nashville. Let the interview process begin.
3:08 PM Mike Klis says a Manning decision is not expected before tomorrow.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Old friend Brandon Marshall is expected to rejoin Jay Cutler with the Bears after Chicago agreed to send two third-rounders to Miami in return for him - two years after Miami had given up two second-rounders in a trade with Denver. There had been speculation that Miami was clearing Marshall's moodiness from the locker room and his salary from the cap, both to help the team sign Peyton Manning.
But the trade looks different this morning, as Marshall is accused of having cold-cocked a woman outside an NYC nightclub early Sunday. This, after Marshall was apparently kicked out of the club for fighting with another, unnamed NFL player. Busy lawyer Harvey Steinberg didn't quite deny the allegation, but he claims that Marshall's wife was struck in the face by a thrown bottle and "suffered serious injury."
Marshall turns 28 in two weeks and had taken up the cause for spreading awareness for Borderline Personality Disorder, but he will again be associated with a nightclub incident and alleged violence against women.
Let's see how the Bears handle this news, and the potential for yet another suspension of Marshall by the NFL.
1:04 AM Titans owner Bud Adams is now saying the Titan will be hosting Peyton Manning on Wednesday. Per ProFootball Talk: Adams told the television station that he believes Manning is “really interested” in the Titans, and expects a “quick decision” from the future Hall of Famer. “I think he’s … wanting to sign up with somebody pretty quickly,” said Adams.
PFT changed the story a minute later saying that Manning would "meet" with the Titans. Interesting, but it is late.
12:20 AM Funny news on the Manning front Jets owner Woody Johnson. Johnson had the audacity to say: "We passed on him [Peyton Manning]. Our fans expect us to look at every opportunity. We looked at the body of work of Mark Sanchez and wanted to put our faith in him. We have a new offensive coordinator, Tony Sparano, who loves Mark and the team he has around him.”
Sure you did, Woody. I'm glad you are able to save face after the hottest girl in school turned you down. What is Mark Sanchez? He's got a great personality, let's just put it this way.
10:20 PM Peyton Manning is scheduled to meet with Titans coach Mike Munchak tomorrow; Bill Polian says the race is a "dead heat" between Tennessee and Denver. Word is the Titans would trade or cut Matt Hasselbeck should they land Manning. Here's the full quote from Polian:
Well, I see it as a dead heat at this point . The Titans do have the home-field advantage as both he and his wife have a great affection for the state of Tennessee, they have a home in Chattanooga, so it's possible that that could be the deciding factor. But I think for sure (he'll join an) AFC (team) and (it's) very definitely a tough decision for him.
We're starting a new entry to cover news from 5PM ET and beyond, see above.
4:29 PM Jason Cole: Denver pursuit of DT Paul soliai is slow because of manning. KC also interested and Miami wants him back.
4:18 PM Adam Schefter: Free-agent safety Brandon Meriweather plans to visit the Denver Broncos tonight.
4:48 PM Pierre Garcon: I wanted you all to hear it from me 1st before u saw it on the news... I will be signing with the Washington Redskins and I'm very excited about the opportunity in front of me.
3:56 PM Jay Glazer: Major scoopage! The Chicago Bears have agreed to terms of a trade w Miami for pro bowl WR Brandon Marshall in exchange for 2 third-rounders.
The NFLPA has released a statement in support of D.J. Williams and Ryan McBean, who are facing suspensions for violations of the league's drug policy:
The NFLPA is disappointed by the decisions in the cases of Ryan McBean and D.J. Williams. Despite substantial evidence of breaches in the collection protocol and other procedural irregularities, the NFL decided to punish these players without judicious review of the facts. The League-appointed hearing officer then affirmed the discipline, even though the specimen collector was fired by his agency for not following procedures. The NFL also failed to produce the sample collector as a witness during the players' appeals hearing.
With the Manning Sweepstakes in high gear, the quality of the OL play in Denver is something that’s been a peripheral to the circus itself. Without doubt, the quality of a team's receivers and offensive line will be part of the equation for Peyton as he chooses a new home. Of course, Peyton demands a high level of play from the players around him - he directs his troops with an iron hand and a sharp tongue on the field. It’s among the key reasons that he - much like John Elway did in his time - has annually driven players with lesser talents to the playoffs, winning a Lombardi Trophy along the way and making another Super Bowl appearance three seasons ago.
It's often been noted - here, elsewhere - and by Peyton himself - that Indy has had a rough time at pass protection in recent years. Yet, during Manning's last three seasons, he took just 40 sacks in 48 regular-season games. It's safe to say he's looking to go to a team where pass pro won't be so much of an issue. That considered, how does Denver's front five stack up relative to Manning's standard?