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.
Meanwhile, Mike Klis says the Chiefs and Seahawks are officially out of the running, as Manning declined offers to visit with those teams. But he adds that the 49ers could potentially make a late push for Peyton if their attempt to re-sign Alex Smith fails. As Klis tells it, the Broncos took an understated approach to their meeting with Manning this weekend, and the QB likewise impressed with his humility and cordiality. Manning, who will turn 36 on March 24th, apparently held firm on not discussing contract details with either team, although Klis expects those talks will commence today.
Contrary to Klis's report, Doug Farrar says Kansas City is still alive, and word out of Seattle says the same about the Seahawks. However, Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen are hearing the same as Klis and say the Chiefs and Seahawks are out.
According to Schefter and Mortensen, Manning is now unlikely to reach a decision by the start of free agency tomorrow afternoon (4PM ET). This seems a bit hard to believe, however, as Peyton is expected to become Free Agent Recruiter Numero Uno for his new team. Manning is apparently drained from the whirlwind tour and was jonesing to get back to his rehab and throwing regimen, along with a monthly medical exam that was supposed to have already happened.
Mort and Schefter report that Manning says he's now able to throw the entire route tree, and that his passes are now sailing as far as 50 yards. He's also apparently been sharing video that backs up his assertions, and word is that he's willing to both work out for his finalists and provide them financial protection to cover the possibility of a medical setback.
Mike Freeman reports that throughout their Friday meeting, the Broncos did in fact try to get Peyton to agree to a deal before leaving. Freeman says Manning promised the team that he will be back to his old form, and that his arm strength is quickly returning.
Back to those Colts free agents, Peter King says in his MMQB column that in addition to Manning, Dallas Clark, and Reggie Wayne, it's expected Pierre Garcon, Anthony Gonzalez, and Jacob Tamme will also leave town.
PK thinks Manning is of the mindset of playing only another 1-4 years more at most, and he expects that it won't come down to just Denver and Arizona in the end. He says the handwringing over John Elway's ability to run an NFL team is officially dead, and he hears that Elway and Manning "meshed well." King hints that Brandon Stokley may even consider playing in 2012, ostensibly to rejoin both the Broncos and Manning. In agreement with Mort and Schefter, King doesn't expect we'll know Manning's choice prior to Wednesday.
Klis wonders if the Broncos would reunite Manning with his old Colts coordinator Tom Moore, who spent last year in a consulting role with the Jets.
According to Klis, Eddie Royal has told the team he's interested in testing the market, despite Woody Paige's protestations. Plus, he thinks QB Chad Henne is a fallback option of Manning goes elsewhere, and that Vikings LB Erin Henderson could replace D.J. Williams if the team cuts him loose.
The 2012 salary cap will be $120.6M, a tiny increase over last year's $120.375M figure; the franchise tag applied to Matt Prater will guarantee him a $2.654M salary if he signs it.
Chargers WR Vincent Jackson is expected to be hotly pursued by Washington and Chicago, who are both expected to outbid San Diego; Kevin Acee thinks Denver would be the best fit for the Northern Colorado alum if the team ends up signing Manning.
It continues to appear the Raiders will end up cutting LB Kamerion Wimbley after having vastly overpaid him last season.
San Francisco is apparently hard at work to prevent WR Josh Morgan from hitting free agency tomorrow.
Andrew Brandt says the extension given Mark Sanchez by the Jets is more show than substance.
Khaled Elsayed lists potential bargains in free agency, including DT Derek Landri, whom the Broncos had targeted last offseason.