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Published on 03/16/2012 at Fri Mar 16 16:37.
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Peyton Manning, John Elway

NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, second from right at rear, walks across a football practice field with Denver Broncos executive John Elway, fourth from left, near Wallace Wade Stadium, Friday, March 16, 2012, at Duke University in Durham, N.C. Elway and coach John Fox watched the star quarterback throw at Duke's athletic fields. (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Travis Long)

News broke from Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN this morning that a sleeper candidate has been in play for Peyton Manning all along. In our opinion, from a strictly football perspective, this new team puts the biggest threat on the Denver Broncos‘ bid for Manning to date.

The San Francisco 49ers — those same 49ers who were one botched punt return away from ousting the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants in the NFC Championship game — have already worked out Peyton Manning and are in serious play to acquire his services, according to the report.

This leaves the Manning finalists that we know of as the following:

  1. Denver Broncos — Visited with Manning last week and worked him out Friday. John Elway and company may have offered him a contract, but they left without signing the quarterback.
  2. San Francisco 49ers — There have been no reports that Manning has visited San Francisco’s facilities, but coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman witnessed a “very impressive” workout with Manning in North Carolina, and team doctors performed a physical exam there the next day.
  3. Tennessee Titans — Have offered Manning a “contract for life.” Visited with him in Tennessee for eight hours Wednesday.

Teams eliminated from the Manning sweepstakes:

  1. Arizona CardinalsKevin Kolb‘s contract deadline passed this afternoon, so they will no longer be pursuing Manning.
  2. Miami Dolphins — According to reports, the Dolphins have been informed they are not a finalist to acquire Peyton Manning.

In my mind, it’s between Denver and San Francisco. The Titans do seem to be putting the sweetest financial package together for Manning, but my gut feeling is that that interests him less than Super Bowl rings. And let’s be frank, the 49ers are the closest of the bunch. With Manning in the fold, they’d be automatic NFL favorites to win it all.

If Manning visits the 49ers facilities I see at as a serious elevation of his interest and, personally, the largest detractor in my confidence he signs with Denver.

  • Anonymous

     The point is that the running game is not the problem.

  • Anonymous

     This is in reply to your last 2 comments.  Yes Walton is probably the chief cause of suckage.  Beadles may suck less.  So you have Kuper and Clady covering the suckage.  A little difficult to do your job when you have to cover for someone else.  Still when you’re hanging 250+ rushing yards on a disciplined team, scheme, plan or system your O-line is doing something right and if your doing that and covering the suckage your OC and line coach are genius.
    The Giants in comparison ranked dead last in nearly every rushing category.

  • Anonymous

    There are those who will claim the bungles, Orton’s lone win, doesn’t count.  Detroit absolutely self destructed.

  • Anonymous

     Your point is what exactly.  That you’re willing to make a stupid statement then double down on dumb?  Last time I checked a map Phoenix was not on the West coast.  Since Manning never flew to the West coast saying he did is stupid.  Maybe you’re suggesting that Manning flew from Indy to Denver just so that he could refuel then fly to Raleigh, stopping in Phoenix to refuel again, where he met with the 49′ers.  Maybe you need to get Jesse Ventura on the case.  

  • Anonymous

     According to Glen Dickey, who write for the SF paper, Smith was happy with the niners offer and all that was left were “minor” details.

  • Jeff

    quick somebody send alex smith a message for a meeting before he decides to sign with miami offer him a contract we waited 2 weeks for peyton how much more time do we lose to find out he aint intersted in signing with us

  • virginiabronco

    wrong again jk

  • broncfan

    You are not supposed to say that, it’s because of Foxy and Elways schemes period.