Peyton Manning: Latest News and Odds for Potential Landing Spots

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystMarch 12, 2012

Peyton Manning: Latest News and Odds for Potential Landing Spots

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    This weekend's media coverage of the National Football League was dominated by Peytonpalooza, as free-agent quarterback Peyton Manning's visits to Denver and Phoenix sent reporters and sports talk radio in those cities into a frenzy.

    They were far from the only pundits working overtime, however, as until the four-time NFL MVP chooses his new home, there are two types of sports stories, especially in the locations where it's been speculated he could land.

    Peyton Manning stories, and all that other stuff.

    If you can't beat them, join them, as I always say, so here's an updated look at the latest news regarding the 14-year veteran and the odds on whose jersey we'll see Peyton Manning in the next time he takes the field.

The Latest on Peyton Manning's Recovery

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    There's one question mark among the many that are swirling about Peyton Manning that seems to be clarifying itself recently.

    Manning's health is becoming less and less of an issue, as his recovery from multiple neck surgeries appears to be progressing well enough that teams aren't overly concerned about his ability to play effectively.

    According to Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter of ESPN, Manning is throwing the ball 50 yards with velocity and has extensive video of his rehab to provide to teams, and Mike Freeman of CBS Sports reports that Manning was able to allay concerns about his arm while meeting with Denver Broncos executives.

    The Broncos were convinced by Manning that his reconstructed neck and throwing motion would be fine, a person with knowledge of the meeting said.

    At one point, Manning promised the Broncos his arm strength was rapidly improving, and if he came to Denver, the team would be getting the Manning of old. The Broncos were so impressed with Manning's determination, they don't intend -- for now -- to ask him to throw and prove his arm is fine.

No Timetable for Manning to Sign a Deal

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    However, folks hoping for an early resolution to the Peyton Manning saga may end up disappointed, as previous optimism that Manning would make a decision quickly is dwindling.

    Manning's agent, Tom Condon, did not accompany Manning on either of his visits over the weekend, which means that financial terms have yet to be discussed, and as Chris Mortensen told Mike and Mike in the Morning Monday, it may be a little while before any dotted lines get signed on.

    via Pro Football Talk:

    Mort said he’d be “shocked” if Manning picked a new team by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. opening of free agency, and even went so far as to suggest Manning may not sign with a team at all this week.

    “He wants to get back into his throwing regimen,” Mortensen stated. “I will be shocked if he has a decision by 4 p.m. tomorrow when the new league year starts. And I might even be surprised if he has a decision this week.”

    Also, while Adam Schefter told SportsCenter Monday that Manning had no plans to visit any other teams, that assertion has since been challenged to at least two different sources (more on that in a bit). 

    So, while we don't know for certain at this moment what other clubs Manning will visit, we also aren't sure that he's finished making tours, and this uncertainty would only seem to increase the odds of this drama dragging on a bit.

Kansas City Chiefs: Making an Offer You Can Refuse

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    Almost as soon as the press conference to announce Peyton Manning's release by the Indianapolis Colts ended last week, the Kansas City Chiefs scrambled for their checkbook, as the Chiefs reportedly offered Manning a contract sight unseen.

    They may not ever get that sight, as although the Chiefs play in the AFC (where Manning would prefer to remain), have some weapons on offense and play in a very winnable division, the Kansas City Star stated that the Chiefs' overtures to Manning's camp have been rebuffed.

    It's worth noting that the Seahawks have denied that Manning refused a visit with them (as the report also claims), but it's looking more and more like it will be another season of Matt Cassel under center in Kansas City.

    I'll give you a moment to compose yourself before we move on.

    Odds of Signing Peyton Manning: 25 to 1

Seattle Seahawks: What, You Don't Like Starbucks?

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    The Seattle Seahawks have long been thought of as something of a peripheral candidate to land Peyton Manning, as although the team has a fairly talented roster, rabid fanbase and very deep-pocketed owner (Paul Allen owns a back-up yacht), the interest the Seahawks have in Manning has been decidedly one-sided to this point.

    That apparently remains the case, as although Eric Williams of the Tacoma News-Tribune reports Peyton Manning hasn't completely closed the door on visiting the Emerald City (insert Toto joke here), that door isn't exactly hanging wide open either.

    The Seahawks reportedly were one of the first teams to contact Manning’s representation when his name hit the waiver wire on Thursday, and remain interested in hosting Manning for a visit to the Pacific Northwest so they can show him all that the organization has to offer.

    For now, Seattle will have to wait to see, but according to the team, Manning hasn’t shut the door on a possible visit to Seattle.

    Odds of Signing Peyton Manning: 20 to 1

Miami Dolphins: Troubled Waters in South Florida?

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    After being labeled an early favorite to secure Peyton Manning's services, the Miami Dolphins' chances of signing the future Hall-of-Famer have seemingly dwindled by the day, as an expected visit by Manning to the Dolphins never materialized.

    There has been speculation that a number of factors may be contributing to Manning's lukewarm interest in the Dolphins, including a dysfunctional front office and the presence of mercurial wide receiver Brandon Marshall, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Mike Beradino.

    While Cardinals All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who traveled to Indianapolis to have dinner with Manning last month and was omnipresent during No. 18’s desert tour over the weekend, is considered quarterback-friendly, Marshall is openly battling “borderline personality disorder” and has a reputation for being high maintenance.

    Reports Monday went from Manning having no scheduled visit planned with the Dolphins to a sit down being in the works to head coach Joe Philbin actually meeting with Manning Monday evening in, of all places, Indianapolis.

    Apparently, however, the bad juju of Manning's old haunt may have rubbed off on the get-together, as the NFL Network's Jeff Darling told NFL Total Access Monday night that Manning is "underwhelmed with the structure in place" with the Dolphins, and colleague Michael Lombardi theorized that Miami is no longer a "viable option".

    Odds of Signing Peyton Manning: 18 to 1

Tenessee Titans: Bud Wants a Buddy

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    The Tennessee Titans were a late arrival to Peyton's party, but as word leaked of the Titans' interest in Manning over the weekend, it became apparent that Titans owner Bud Adams was serious about his pursuit of the star signal-caller, at least according to USA Today, who reported that Adams told The Tennessean that "He is the man I want. Period.".

    Apparently, there's at least of modicum of mutual interest, perhaps borne of the possibility of sticking it to his former team twice a season.

    Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network was the first to refute Schefter's assertion that Manning was done visiting teams with his tweet that Manning would be getting a chance to check out Graceland soon.

    NFL sources tell me that the Titans are preparing for a Peyton Manning visit in the next day or two...

    — Michael Lombardi (@michaelombardi) March 12, 2012

    However, the Titans may well be the longest of long shots, as Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports is convinced that Adams' reputation as a meddlesome owner may be a dealbreaker for Manning.

    The overarching point is that Peyton Manning has had more than enough drama in the last year.  He wants to play football for as long as he can, and perhaps win another Super Bowl with the right organization. A franchise whose owner runs roughshod over the people he hires  to take care of personnel? Probably not the most attractive option at this point.

    Odds of Signing Peyton Manning: 13 to 1

Houston Texans: Taking a Look?

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    Until Monday there had been no real mention of the Houston Texans as a potential suitor for Peyton Manning, although the notion was posited by some that the Texans would be wise to at least consider taking a look.

    The Texans may well be doing just that, as one of the reporters who are disputing Schefter's notion that Manning is done racking up frequent-flyer miles is Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, who tweeted Monday that Manning will be paying a visit to the great state of Texas.

    Peyton Manning to visit Houston now!!!! Manning is turning into quite the home wrecker. Wonder how quickly Matt... sulia.com/c/nfl-free-age…

    — Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) March 12, 2012

    This one is still probably something of a long shot given Houston's scant salary cap room and the presence of quarterback Matt Schaub, but the fact that the Texans are kicking the tires at all shows they have no plans to relinquish control of the AFC South any time soon.

    Odds of Signing Peyton Manning: 10 to 1

Arizona Cardinals: How Hot Are the Chances in the Desert?

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    The Arizona Cardinals were the second team that Peyton Manning visited this past weekend, and after arriving in the Valley of the Sun on Saturday evening, Manning met with Cardinals personnel Sunday, including team president Michael Bidwill, head coach Ken Whisenhunt and star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

    Manning's meeting with the team lasted for just over six hours and was characterized as a success, according to a report by Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, who disputed a Denver Post report that the visit was a "dog and pony show."

    A source told The Republic, however, that Manning's meeting with the Cardinals was "all about football" and went well. Manning, the source said, was very engaged.

    Gamesmanship between newspapers aside, time is not on the side of the Redbirds, however, as the $7 million roster bonus due starter Kevin Kolb on March 17 will loom larger and larger for the Cardinals the longer Manning takes to make a decision.

    For what it's worth, Somers is looking at the glass as half-full if his tweet Monday is any indication.

    “@truckinmc44: @kentsomers Odds what do you thinks the odds are that Peyton becomes a Cardinal” 50-50

    — Kent Somers (@kentsomers) March 12, 2012

    Odds of Signing Peyton Manning: 7 to 1

Denver Broncos: Tim Who?

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    If I had written an article a month ago here at Bleacher Report claiming that the Denver Broncos would be the favorites to sign Peyton Manning, I would still be trying to dig out from underneath of avalanche of comments I would have received calling me a moron (at best).

    My, how times have changed.

    After catching many people off guard with their early and blatant interest in Manning given the presence of fan favorite Tim Tebow under center, the Broncos were also the first team to get Manning in for a visit, meeting with him for six hours Friday evening.

    The meeting apparently went so well that Vic Lombardi of CBS 4 TV in Denver got a little carried away with himself, announcing via Twitter Sunday that Manning was all but a Bronco.

    Just heard from my peoples. Broncos now 95% confident he'll sign with Denver. Their number, not mine.

    — Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) March 12, 2012

    Lombardi's "peoples" may have led him astray, but there does appear to be significant interest on both sides between the Broncos and Peyton Manning.

    Many reporters, including Monte Burke of Forbes, believe that Manning will eventually find his way to the Mile High City, affording John Elway an opportunity to extricate himself from Tim Tebow without causing a fan mutiny.

    Elway certainly seemed to warm up to Tebow as the season progressed, but the young scrambling quarterback still clearly not what Elway has in mind as the longterm solution. Signing Manning is a graceful way for him to depart with Tebow.

    Then, even if Manning can’t play or gets hurt—and presuming he signs a risk-free contract with the team—Elway will be in the position he has craved from the beginning: He will be able to seek out a quarterback in his own image without looking like he sabotaged the fan favorite.

    Odds of Signing Peyton Manning: 5 to 1