Peyton Manning Rumors: Quarterback Not Visiting Miami Dolphins Now?

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIMarch 12, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 07:  Peyton Manning attends a press conference announcing Manning's release from the Colts at Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on March 7, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Joey Foley/Getty Images)
Joey Foley/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins were considered the early favorite to land quarterback Peyton Manning, but after stops in Denver and Arizona, the team's pursuit of the four-time MVP has apparently lost steam.

On SportsCenter Monday morning, ESPN's Adam Schefter claimed that Manning would not be visiting any more teams. Schefter claimed that the Broncos are currently the favorites to land the 11-time Pro Bowler while the Cardinals are also in contention. That doesn't mean the Dolphins are completely out of things, but Manning apparently won't be visiting the team's facility.

Schefter's report contradicts an earlier report from the Miami Herald that claimed Miami was in "lockdown mode" as they awaited a visit from the quarterback. The Herald's report claims the team's informed sources have all but shut the media out on the Manning front, and that could be a sign that the team believes it is still in the race but doesn't want to hurt those chances.

For Dolphins fans, Schefter's report has to be troubling. If Manning indeed doesn't visit the team's facilities, that will mean the Cardinals and Broncos have a leg up, since they were able to roll out the red carpet for him. 

Meanwhile, the Broncos have been able to make such an aggressive pitch to Manning because they have set themselves up with more than $40 million in cap space this year. Denver has a ridiculous $27 million in leftover cap space from 2011, which carries over to 2012 thanks to the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement. 

That amount of cash could give the Broncos a chance to sign Manning and some of his former Indianapolis Colts teammates if they so choose. 

If the Dolphins miss out on Manning, it would be another in a long line of blows to the team's front office. After losing out on Jim Harbaugh and Jeff Fisher after putting on the full-court press on both guys, losing out on a big-time free agent like Manning would be embarrassing. 

Miami has some serious work to do to get back in this race.