Manning to Broncos, will wear #18; Saturday to visit; Stokley expected to return

10:40 pm Brando Spano (via his radio show) is reporting that Wesley Woodyard is working on a 2-year deal to return to the Broncos.

9:00 pm Denver's other veteran TE acquisition from 2011 is departing; Dante Rosario is heading to San Diego shortly after Daniel Fells joined the Patriots.

7:48 pm Sal Paolantonio: Former Bronco Frank Tripucka will allow Peyton Manning to wear his retired number 18 next season

6:55 pm Jason La Canfora: Team Manning about to be assembled in Denver. C Jeff Saturday has a visit scheduled. WR Brandon Stokley likely to be signed #freeagency


5:38 pm Drew Magary:

John Elway has really big balls. HUGE balls. Balls the size of light bulbs. His balls are so big, you could harvest stem cells from them and plant them inside Peyton Manning's cervical vertebrae to facilitate the healing process.

Only Elway could have gotten away with this. If it had been some other figurehead running the Broncos, they wouldn't have had enough good will stored up to openly court Manning and prepare to trade away a player who, while lacking in many basic QB skills, is the NFL's most popular player and a huge audience draw.

5:22 pm Alfred Williams on 104.3: To think that we were going to run option football for another year, you're out of your damn mind...You don't have to get DirecTV now to watch great quarterback play in Denver.

5:12 pm Jim Rome: Signing Peyton Manning is a risk. But not nearly as big a risk as keeping a guy who completed 47% percent of his passes. Elway got it right.

3:40 pm Mike Silver

To say the reaction at the Broncos’ Dove Valley training facility was one of jubilation would be an understatement. Sure, the notion of landing one of the greatest players in league history was a pick-me-upper. However, there was also a decided ding-dong-the-witch-is-dead strain to the exultation, as unfair and irrational as that may seem.

Even as he celebrated wildly on the sidelines, Elway had that sick, sinking feeling in his stomach – Tebowmania had become such a formidable force that even Colorado’s most legendary athletic hero would have been vilified for pulling the plug.

If it comes down to it, even though Tebow’s salary is relatively low, Elway may simply release him, reasoning that Tebowmania must move on at any cost.

2:32 pm John Henderson:

"Whatever you read about, he does 10, 20, 30 times more things that you never read about," said columnist Bob Kravitz, who has written about Manning for 12 years at the Indianapolis Star. "I can't tell you the number of emails I've gotten from people who said that Peyton did this, that or the other thing for a child or for a sick person that never made the newspaper, that wasn't part of the PeyBack Foundation, that was just a random act of kindness."

2:12 pm Mike Freeman:

One of the first things Elway said to Manning was this: Imagine everything you can do here, and imagine if you win a championship here. You win a title in Denver, and no other quarterback will be able to touch your legacy. Including me.

Elway stayed in constant touch with Manning throughout the process and all the time continued to appeal to Manning's ego and sense of history. Elway also once told Manning that a title in Denver would push him past Tom Brady. Brady and Manning have obviously been bitter rivals.

There was one more thing. Elway had told Manning that Tim Tebow would be traded if Manning signed. It's unknown if Elway offered this nugget or if Manning demanded it. But the Broncos began looking to trade Tebow literally the second Manning informed the Broncos of his decision. (Some reports suggest the Broncos were already attempting to trade Tebow days ago, but I'm not so certain this is the case.)

Manning will certainly say at some point this was a terribly close decision but everything I hear is that it wasn't as close as many are saying. Elway was that convincing, and the fact Manning made the decision so quickly after visiting Tennessee over the weekend seems to indicate Denver was a clear-cut winner.

2:11 pm Jay Glazer: Getting financials done is easy. They told him in that first visit at dinner they could offer 95 mil over 5 years. Structure however is key here as Denver has to protect itself from future neck injury

2:05 pm Gary Miller: A few years ago Broncos became Patriots west but they forgot to get Brady. Being Colts west should turn out much better.

2:05 pm Alfred Williams: I love you guys! When you think the Broncos can win you're all in When you think the Broncos can't win you're all in! #CutThatMeatinDenver

1:55 pm Willis McGahee: To all my free agents across the nfl, I think u know what time it is. It's about to go down...

1:38 pm Chris Mortensen says the Broncos would release Tebow if they are unable to trade him.

1:47 pm Vic Lombardi: Just got off the phone with Eric Decker. He's fully prepared to spend the entire offseason working with PM.

1:45 pm Joe Fortenbaugh: It was only a month ago that the Denver Broncos were listed at 70/1 to win next year’s Super Bowl...Over at offshore shop, Denver is now listed at 10/1 to win the Super Bowl...In Las Vegas, the MGM sportsbooks now have the Broncos listed at 10/1 as well.

1:43 pm Albert Breer: I believe flexibility was key. McCoy's system (see: Tebow) malleable. And $40M in cap space brings roster flexibility. On the numbers, clubs, including the Broncos, knew they'd be working off the parameters of Peyton's old 5-year, $90 million deal. Structure could vary. Almost certainly will be protection for any issues with the neck. But the money will be large.

1:07 pm Mike Klis: Factors in Manning's decision to select the Broncos were Elway, who was hired to head the team's front office 14 months ago, coach John Fox, Colorado's quality of life for his wife Ashley and infant twins (they turn 1 on March 31), and his friendships with Stokley and Rockies star Todd Helton.

12:32 pm Mort/Schefter:

A contract between the two sides is expected to be a formality. Elway and Manning first discussed the parameters of a five-year, $95 million contract during their March 9 meeting in Denver...

Elway then told Manning during the Friday, March 16 trip to Durham, N.C. -- where the quarterback has done the majority of his training -- that he wanted to finalize a contract "fair to both sides."

Manning is comfortable enough with Denver that he has directed Condon not to negotiate with the other two finalists, the 49ers and Titans, to avoid any perception that he was seeking financial leverage, sources said.

Manning did not mandate that he and Saturday would be a package deal, sources said.

12:24 pm Vic Lombardi: No presser planned today. Still a lot of details to hammer out on this contract. Could take a while. But he's a Bronco

12:22 pm John Clayton: John Elway was great completing passes as a player, By getting Peyton Manning, he shows how good he is as a football executive.

12:22 pm Albert Breer: The Broncos and Manning are finalizing a contract ... The team will now look to trade Tim Tebow, something it's already explored doing.

12:14 pm Cecil Lammey: Now that #Broncos have #manning I fully expect them to get Dallas Clark and make a run at Mike Wallace. I also expect #Broncos to have interest in Jonathan Stewart if #Panthers put him on the trade block. The other move would also be Jeff Saturday added as new starting Center, bad on film LY, not what he used to be....still upgrade over JDW. Don't forget about Julius Thomas, he's VERY gifted athletically and could flourish with #Broncos & #manning. If added Dallas Clark and JT could be phenomenal two TE set

12:07 pm On ESPN, Adam Schefter says part of Denver's plan is to also sign Jeff Saturday to play center.

12:04 pm Vic Lombardi: Wow. It's over. He's a Bronco. And this time, I'm 99.999999999999999999999999% sure. As I reported 11 days ago, the Broncos will now trade Tebow. The deal was done one week ago. It obviously just took a little "massaging". You have to trade Tebow. Two entirely different QB's. Woudn't work. The Broncos will pay Manning 90-million plus. Look for at least half that in guarantees.

According to sources inside the Broncos, the building at Dove Valley is going nuts. They're celebrating big time. What a coup by John Elway. The Broncos have already been in contact with several teams regarding Tebow. They've taken the temperature in case this were to happen. The Broncos won him over with Elway and Fox. End of story. They won him over. I know the Broncos have been in contact with at least three teams regaring Tebow. Despite what people think, there is a market for him.

11:57 am Adam Schefter: From @mortreport and me: Peyton Manning will become the next quarterback of the Denver Broncos, barring unexpected snag in contract talks. And now that Peyton Manning has directed his agent to get deal done with Denver, Broncos will try to trade Tim Tebow. Peyton Manning called John Elway this morning to tell him he's looking forward to coming to play for him. Peyton Manning has informed the other teams of his decision.

11:53 am Chris Mortensen is reporting that Peyton Manning has chosen Denver


3:18 pm Vic Lombardi: I believe the next free agent the Broncos sign is Dallas Clark. Just a hunch. Don't write it down.

3:07 pm Les Carpenter:

The market for Tebow will not be robust...Tebow comes with a devoted fan base of Christians and lovers of the underdog alike. They will not sit quiet as their hero languishes on the bench.

Tebow’s arrival in almost any NFL city will be as much of an internal disaster as a public relations boon.

3:02 pm Word is that Jeff Saturday is currently scheduled to visit the Packers, who lost Scott Wells to St. Louis.

1:34 pm Shalise Manza Young: early returns on Tebow-to-NE is overwhelming no, with quite a few "hell no" responses in the mix

1:13 pm Mike Klis: Expect the Broncos to sign TE Dallas Clark

12:27 pm Pat Kirwan: Miami can't miss on the Tebow trade...I doubt coach wants him for his WC offense but empty seats rule! Tebow contract has 14.2 m next 3yrs

10:43 am Daniel Fells will be joining Brandon Lloyd with the Patriots. Mike Klis says it's a three-year deal worth about $2M per and calls it "a blow." Fells was targeted 30 times in 2011; 14 times in nine games once Tim Tebow took over as the starter. This, after having caught 41 passes in 2010 with the Rams on 56 targets.

10:26 am Sam DeWitt has grown tired of all the baseless reports and breathless anticipation of the Manning Watch. But, he doesn't think the Broncos are worse off for having waited this long.


12:52 pm Titans owner Bud Adams, via Jim Wyatt: I told him he was going into high altitude so he better start getting in shape...I was hoping we could get him. On my next birthday I will be 90 yrs old. So I felt he could get us in the championship quickly...We are going to miss getting him, I know that. I told him I hope we don't have to play him any time soon.

11:33 am Unlike Denver, it appears going after Manning really has cost Tennessee some free agent targets, as their FO apparently meant to pursue Mario Williams, John Abraham, Scott Wells, and Chris Myers until Bud Adams got involved.

11:19 am Mike Lombardi's sense is that Denver is the leader for Manning, and he's hearing the Titans are a "long shot." Lombardi says thinks the Denver line can protect Peyton, who would better utilize the Broncos' skill players and allow Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil to "constantly rush the passer." As for the Niners, Lombardi doesn't see why Manning and Jim Harbaugh couldn't coexist.

10:15 am Cannot put it any better than Mike Tanier does here:

Peyton Manning would like to apologize to everyone for taking over 12 days to make a major career and life decision. Manning realizes that what is important is not his own fulfillment, or his employer's goals, but the strained patience of fans/Twitterati. Manning also realizes that multi-million $ decisions are best made hastily and apologizes deeply for being so old fashioned.

He also apologizes for being in such great demand, and knows it is his fault we find all of these suitors and coverage so annoying. Manning also "gets" the comparison to Favre, even though he has never feigned retirement, and this is March, not July. But they are both QBs. In short, Manning is really, really sorry for taxing our attention spans and forcing us to obsesses ceaselessly over his decision.


8:28 pm David Garrard is taking his talents to South Beach.

3:18 pm Mike Lombardi: So to recap correctly, Laron Landry has agreed to a contract with the NY Jets and the Pats agreed with offensive lineman Robert Gallery

11:22 am Jason La Canfora: RB Mike Tolbert agrees to 4yr deal with Panthers. #freeagency

10:09 am Cincy is hanging onto S Reggie Nelson.