Good Morning, Broncos fans! Woody Paige dropped something of a bombshell this morning - he says the Broncos' chase for Peyton Manning was started not by John Elway or Pat Bowlen, but by John Fox. Yes, the same Fox we have ripped for his conservative play-calling and fourth-down decisions; whom Paige had suggested last week would be unwilling to run Manning's no-huddle offense; the guy who considers throwing the ball to be a risky proposition. Yep, that John Fox.
It's been said and written countless times that Fox would always prefer to run the ball given his druthers, but it's been likewise beaten to death that he prefers older QBs. But at the same time, we're talking about a coach who has had the misfortune of having at his disposal only journeyman Rodney Peete, mistake-prone Jake Delhomme, baseball player Chris Weinke, a 44-year-old version of Vinny Testaverde, the oft-replaced Matt Moore, bust Jimmy Clausen, a Tebowmania-frazzled Kyle Orton, and Tebow, who Fox himself said would "be screwed" if the Broncos ran a conventional offense.
So here he is, facing potentially another year of Tebowmania in the face, and what does the risk-averse coach tell Woody?
Sometimes you have to be willing to take big risks in life.
But according to the DP's source, the Broncos are currently running third behind the Titans and 49ers in the Manning sweeps, with the financial packages being offered by all three teams are apparently all pretty similar. One unique suggestion from Paige is that Elway and Manning could someday share partial ownership of the Broncos, as hard to envision as that might be.
Woody points to Denver's inactivity in free agency as a mark against them in comparision to the Niners and Titans, although the team has far more salary cap room than either team and thus has the clear ability to sign players like Peyton's old Colts teammates Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai.
On NFL Network yesterday, Mike Mayock echoed an earlier suggestion by Mike Tanier that Denver acquire Steelers wideout Mike Wallace (at the cost of a contract unmatchable to Pittsburgh and Denver's 25th-overall pick). Said Mayock:
If I get Peyton Manning and it's a healthy Peyton Manning, I'm thinking Super Bowl. From my perspective, the first thing I would do is I would try to make Mike Wallace from the Pittsburgh Steelers a very wealthy young man. He's a restricted free agent so I would have to give up my first round pick, but my first round pick is only number 25. I would be happy to give up No. 25 and then I would get after Mike Wallace, try to put together a deal with him.
After that, remember that [tight end] Dallas Clark — Peyton's old teammate — is out there as a free agent; it wouldn't cost me anything. I would be trying to augment my offensive firepower because Peyton is used to dealing with an average defense; Denver's defense is fine. I'd be really just getting everybody I could get on the offensive side of the ball and say, 'OK Peyton, it's up to you to win a Super Bowl. Let's go.
Mike Klis says Manning's deal could even be as much as $110 million in total value, although of course it's all about the guarantee.
According to the Titans Sports Network, Peyton will throw for the Titans later this morning, and Albert Breer says the plan is for Manning to make his choice sometime on Monday or Tuesday.
Jeff Legwold reminds us what makes Manning so unique in his greatness, and he suggests that whether to keep Tebow if they acquire Manning will come down to a football decision.
Legwold expects the Broncos to watch Arizona's Nick Foles throw on Monday, ASU's Brock Osweiler throw on March 30, and to attend the pro days of Andrew Luck and RG3 this week just like they observed the QBs they had no intention of drafting a year ago.
Updated cap space as of March 15: Denver has $40M, Tennessee $26.2M (presumably pending the Steve Hutchinson deal), San Francisco $23.5M.
Of course, Brandon Lloyd and the Patriots are close to a deal. So let's get this straight - Tom Brady will be throwing to Gronkowski, Hernandez, Welker, and Lloyd next year - and everyone thought Peyton wanted to go to the Dolphins and compete with that for a division title every year? Puh-leeeze.
Oakland finally cut Kam Wimbley, also signing G Mike Brisiel and CB Ron Bartell.
Vontaze Burfict failed to help his own cause at his pro day yesterday.
Andy Benoit interprets Miami trading Brandon Marshall and San Diego letting Vincent Jackson go as being system-driven decisions.