The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

Brandon Marshall, nightclubs, & women do not mix well together Lard 3-14-12

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.

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Will Peyton decide before start of free agency today? Lard 3-13-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Dolphins finally got their meeting with Peyton Manning, even if it likely wasn't quite what they had likely envisioned. Instead of the full-court press both Denver and Arizona were able to employ, Miami sent new head coach Joe Philbin, OC Mike Sherman, and other members of the coaching staff, who met with Manning in Indianapolis for between five and six hours last night. 

Manning is next expected to meet with Titans coach Mike Munchak either today or tomorrow at an undisclosed location. The Titans were reportedly planning on making a big push to sign Mario Williams but have now instead shifted their attention to Manning.

Meanwhile, John McClain reasserted yesterday that Houston is not pursuing Manning, and there is still no indication the 49ers have any interest, despite Mike Klis's report to the contrary.

Klis says there's an outside chance Manning announces his decision before today's 4pm ET free-agency kickoff, and he reports that John Fox assured Peyton he would be allowed to run his hurry-up offense in Denver. Of course, if this weren't the case, Peyton wouldn't have bothered showing up in the first place.

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Manning willing to work out, offer financial protection for injury Lard 3-12-12

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.

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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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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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Peyton’s neck should be fine Lard 3-9-12

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?

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Why Denver makes sense for Manning Lard

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?

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Mr. Manning departs Indianapolis Lard 3-7-12

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.

Meanwhile, Jerry Rice thinks the Niners should go after Manning, whose Colts teammates are dreading his release even though they knew it was coming.

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The Daily Lard 3-6-12

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.

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The Daily Lard 3-5-12

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.

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