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).

Woodrow also hears the Broncos would likely deal Tim Tebow if they were to sign Manning, with Jacksonville the most probable trade partner, and he's told Tebow is "all right" with the developments. He probably got that money quote in exchange for writing five paragraphs about the plight of Tebow in Denver before getting into those more timely Manning-related details.

Mike Florio is hearing that the Jags would indeed be in on Tebow, and he says the Broncos have found that none of the QBs available via free agency are interested in competing with Tebow in Denver and having to deal with the Tebowmaniacs and their unhealthy obsession.

Mike Klis reports that Manning's former Colts teammate and ex-Bronco Brandon Stokley joined Johns Elway and Fox in pitching Denver's case over dinner Friday night at Cherry Hills Country Club, and it's apparently the Slot Machine who dropped Manning off at Centenial Airport for his flight to Arizona. Klis places the chances of Manning signing somewhere at 211% (Denver 60%, Arizona 40%, Miami 40%, Houston 30%, KC 20%, Seattle 20%, and Washington 1%), so don't go to Klis for tax advice this month.

According to NFLN's Michelle Beisner, the Broncos and Manning were in touch (video) throughout the day yesterday, and she says the team is hopeful talks with Peyton will progress even as he is visiting with Arizona and presumably Miami.

AFC West

Von Miller tells PFW his thumb is about 90% healed and he's working to increase his upper-body strength this offseason.

Dan Pompei thinks Denver's interest in Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden and courtship of Manning is an indication of a trend in the NFL to focus on the shorter term. Plus, he figures the Browns' failed attempt to move up to #2 means they are now candidates to move down from #4.

Among PFW's AFC Whispers, they hear the Broncos will add a safety this offseason, and Joseph Addai's pass-blocking acumen could lead Manning's new team to sign the running back as well.

Adam Teicher thinks signing Manning would be quite the statement for the Chiefs, but does anyone really think Peyton wants to join Scott Pioli, Romeo Crennel, and Patriots West?

Egomaniacal blowhard A.J. Smith claims not to care where Manning ends up, and he's trying to re-sign C Nick Hardwick and T Jared Gaither.

Trimmings

Minnesota released G Steve Hutchinson, G Anthony Herrera, and CB Cedric Griffin; Atlanta signed former Seahawks LB Lofa Tatupu.

Alex Smith is confident he will come to an agreement on a new deal with the Niners, who are set to work out Randy Moss tomorrow.

Talk around the league is that Washington will now make a big run at Vincent Jackson after having secured the #2 pick.

Drew Brees came up with a claim of ignorance while finally speaking up about the Saints' bounty system. Here's the statement he issued on his website.

Scrapple

Andy Benoit analyzes the top free agent tight ends, defensive backs, offensive linemen, and defensive linemen.

Doug Farrar says Washington were smart to move up for Robert Griffin III, and he debunks a few of the talking points critical of the move, including the obviously race-based comparisons to Cam Newton and Vincey Young.

Matt Waldman thinks RG3 needs to slow his game down a bit to avoid becoming a bust.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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