Posted Fri Mar 16th by Monty
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Tennessee Titans — Have offered Manning a “contract for life.” Visited with him in Tennessee for eight hours Wednesday.
Teams eliminated from the Manning sweepstakes:
- Arizona Cardinals — Kevin Kolb‘s contract deadline passed this afternoon, so they will no longer be pursuing Manning.
- 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.