Good Morning, Broncos fans! Peyton Manning spent over 6.5 hours meeting with Cardinals officials in Tempe yesterday before heading back to Miami, where he owns a condo. Yet despite his proximity there to the Dolphins, it still is not expected that Manning will meet with the team that had been largely considered the favorite to land the QB - that is, until Denver got involved. If Manning does turn down Miami's advances, the team is expected to turn its attention to Green Bay QB Matt Flynn tomorrow.
Tennessee owner Bud Adams made it abundantly clear he'd like an audience with Peyton, but there are currently no expectations that will happen. Yet, Albert Breer thinks several factors make the Titans an attractive option for the former UT Volunteer.
Vic Lombardi set the Twittersphere afire last night by saying the Broncos are "95% confident" they'll sign Manning because they heard from the QB, but the team disputed that report. Mike Florio seems to think there's substance behind Lombardi's tweets, and it could be the Broncos are simply respecting the process. It's worth noting that Lombardi has been the most consistently accurate Denver media figure throughout this process - so there's that.
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).
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.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! According to multiple spine specialists, the health of Peyton Manning's neck is not an issue, assuming his fusion procedures were a success. Rather, they say the bone should actually be stronger now, and the only real question is whether Manning's arm strength is where it needs to be. The doctors USA Today spoke to echo these sentiments. With that out of the way, let's check in on Denver's presumed competition for his services:
The Dolphins are apparently all in on Manning, to the point that they haven't yet expressed interest in Matt Flynn. Coach Joe Philbin says the team hasn't yet spoken with the QB but confirms they hope to in the coming days. FWIW, Reggie Wayne would love to end up in Miami with Peyton.
Contrary to yesterday's report, Mike Florio is hearing that Peyton has not told Washington they're out of the running, even if that still appears the likely outcome.
Adam Teicher acknowledges that the Chiefs certainly have the cap room, but he thinks adding Manning would be quite a divergence from the franchise's plan to build for the long term.
As for the Niners, there is still a gap between them and Alex Smith in terms of both years and guaranteed money on a potential deal. Are they not budging because they're considering a run at Manning?
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning held an emotional news conference yesterday to bid each other a public adieu. Irsay says the Colts will retire Manning's #18, and of course, Peyton says he still wants to play and is approaching full health.
Where will he end up? According to Adam Schefter, 12 teams have already contacted Manning's representatives at CAA. As we noted yesterday, Washington and Seattle are very interested in pursuing the QB, while Arizona, San Francisco, Kansas City, Houston, Miami, and the Jets have all been rumored to be in on Peyton. Last night, it was reported that some team in the Mountain West is serious about going after Manning despite already having a guy who sells a lot of jerseys and tickets.
Oh yeah, your Denver Broncos. Nah, they have no chance as Mike Klis tells it, after changing his report on Denver's apparent interest eleventy times yesterday. Why would Manning want to go to Denver? Doesn't he want to join a team closer to SB contention? The Broncos' offensive line suck elephant balls, no? We've already been told countless times that Denver's receivers are terrible. Would Manning want to play for John Fox, who hates to throw the ball, and why would Pat Bowlen spend the cash, as Mark Kiszla wonders? Besides, Tebow and Manning are represented by the same agents as super sleuth Woody Paige has discovered, or read yesterday afternoon on Mike Florio's blog. Denver is obviously the longest shot of all those teams, amirite?
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Colts are holding a press conference today at noon ET to announce the release of some guy named Peyton Manning. Manning flew into town last night with Jim Irsay on the Colts owner's private jet, and he will become a free agent as soon as the Colts release him.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is apparently still enamored with the idea of signing Manning; the Jets will consider adding the QB despite the presence of the Sanchize, although some within the organization figure Peyton would prefer to avoid the Jets' circus act. Arizona is considered a possible suitor, although they must decide whether to keep Kevin Kolb by St. Patrick's Day, when he's due a $7M roster bonus. Of course, everyone figures Shanny & Co. will be in on Peyton as well; Seattle has been mentioned as a potential landing spot, and of course Romeo Crennel made it clear the Chiefs are interested too.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Pittsburgh's decision not to tag Mike Wallace means any team can ink the 25-year-old wideout to a deal the cap-strapped Steelers are presumably unable to match, with only a first-round pick going back as compensation. Of course, this would be quite the bargain for most teams when considering Wallace's young age and exceptional skills, especially if they happen to pick late in this year's first round, like the Broncos, Patriots, and Niners do.
Mike Tanier thinks Denver's abundance of cap space and their need for a playmaking receiver who gets himself open regardless of scheme makes the Broncos a perfect fit for Wallace. Tanier points to Wallace's terrific numbers on screens and bombs as a perfect complement for Tim Tebow's abilities, and he also envisions Denver utilizing Wallace on plenty of end arounds. Sounds like a no-brainer - who wouldn't be happy with Wallace as Denver's 2012 first-round choice? No matter who the QB is long-term in Denver, Wallace would potentially be his immediate favorite target, with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker suddenly finding a lot more room to roam.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Freeman is hearing that Roger Goodell will penalize the Saints for their bounty system with an even heavier hand than he used with the Patriots over Spygate. Freeman suspects that New Orleans GM Mickey Loomis and coach Sean Payton are likely to face suspensions and hefty fines, and for the team to lose at least a first-round draft choice.
Why such severe punishment when players Freeman spoke to estimated that 30-40% of the league's players (does this mean almost every team, since only defensive players appear to have employed bounties?) were party to a bounty system last season? After all, it's a bit too late to simply make an example of the Saints and pretend the problem doesn't span the league.
However, a current player told Freeman that bounties have been rendered less effective by the rules meant to protect offensive players (Anyone still dismissing the need for those? Didn't think so), and the Saints appear to stand out for having institutionalized the system, as Freeman puts it. That the head coach and general manager were aware of the system and even condoned it is another strike against them.
But the guess here is this scandal will grow bigger and take down more names before the Commish metes out his punishment.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! As we'd figured, Willis McGahee's firing of agent Drew Rosenhaus served as an indication that the RB is unhappy with his 2012 salary. According to Mike Klis, the Broncos told Rosenhaus they would not renegotiate McGahee's deal, a four-year $9.5M contract signed just last summer. The 30-year-old running back was a bargain by any measure in 2011, racking up 1,250 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns for just a $1M salary and $2M signing bonus. McGahee is due a $2M salary in 2012 and will count for $2.5M against the cap; Klis says Willis has no plans to hold out, but it's also only March. Then again, how much leverage does a 30-year-old back have? Not much.
Meanwhile, the Broncos have until tomorrow to lock up kicker Matt Prater to a new long-term deal or use their franchise tag on him, which would result in a $2.6M salary for 2012. Here's guessing the two sides would still pursue a lengthier contract if Denver ends up tagging the 27-year-old kicker.
Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! The biggest NFL news in quite some time hit yesterday - that the Saints defense under the direction of former DC and momentary Denver head-coaching candidate Gregg Williams (and mentor to recent Broncos DC and new Oakland head man Dennis Allen) employed a bounty system funded mainly by players to reward each other for knocking out opposing players and forcing them to be carted off the field, along with less-nefarious goals like creating turnovers and scoring touchdowns.
Who else put cash into this system? A felon not employed by the team, but with a direct line of communication to Saints coach Sean Payton.
Williams, who rejoined his old boss Jeff Fisher (when both were with the Titans) in St. Louis to run the Rams defense, issued a statement yesterday acknowledging the program and taking full responsibility for it. The league's investigation found the bounty system existed throughout Williams' three-year tenure in New Orleans; as could be expected, the Redskins defense employed a similar system while the well-traveled Williams was coordinating their defense. Joe Gibbs, his boss in Washington, is claiming ignorance.
It's worth noting that between Williams's stints in Washington and New Orleans, he spent the 2008 season running the Jaguars defense for new Denver DC Jack Del Rio, then Jacksonville's head coach. As for Williams' first stint with Fisher in Tennessee, ex-Titans safety Blaine Bishop claims there was no bounty system.