We have another bidder in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes.
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
The connection here is a pretty obvious. Manning played his college ball at the University of Tennessee, where he was a star for four years in the late '90s.
This will be the third official visit Manning has had on this tour around the league he is currently conducting. He spent Friday and Saturday with John Fox and John Elway at the Denver Broncos facilities. Mike Klis of the Denver Post reported that the visit went well.
Then he took his private jet to Arizona, where he spent all day Sunday.
Owner Bud Adams has made it loud and clear that he wants No. 18 (via NFL.com):
He is the man I want. Period. And the people that work for me understand that. They know who I want. I want Mr. Manning with the Titans and I will be disappointed if it doesn't happen.
This is a bold statement to make.
Second-year pro Jake Locker showed signs of why he was the No. 8 overall pick, and at the age of 23, he seems to have a bright future ahead of him. Matt Hasselbeck is still a capable starter as well.
Instead, now Locker knows his owner is willing to throw him under the bus the minute a better option is available. If the Titans don’t land Manning, it’s going to be rather awkward around the Tennessee facilities.
Then again, if they land the four-time MVP…an 8-8 team in 2011 is going to be a Super Bowl favorite in 2012.