Peyton Manning Rumors: The Latest on Manning to Tennessee Titans

Nick DeWittAnalyst IMarch 16, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 08:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts looks to pass against the New York Jets during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 8, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Jets won 17-16. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Peyton Manning circus continued its March on Wednesday when the quarterback met for eight hours with members of the Tennessee Titans’ top brass. Juding from the flurry of Manning/Titans-related rumors on Rotoworld, Nashville’s team wants the former Volunteer badly.

Owner Bud Adams has made it clear he wants Manning badly, to the point of giving the quarterback a “blank check.”

The Titans also reportedly offered Manning a post-retirement job somewhere in their front office. That’s a new one, but no big surprise as the Titans have really pulled out all the stops in their pursuit of the former division rival.

As for the chances of Manning signing in Nashville after his visit, you can forget that. The latest reports indicated that Manning did not remain in town after his meeting and is off to another engagement. The quarterback would reportedly like to make a decision Sunday.

There doesn’t appear to be a clear front-runner in this race as far as I can tell, but I will say that Tennessee has put on the best show so far.

The stumbling block figures to be that the Titans already have Jake Locker. How long Manning wants to play or can play is anyone’s guess, but I don’t think he’s planning his retirement party anytime soon. He seems like a guy who will play until his arm falls off.

But the Titans have been the most publicly vocal about wanting the quarterback and have fawned over him since free agency began. The eight-hour meeting probably included some discussion of potential numbers and years.

What do the Titans have going for them? A return to health from Kenny Britt is a start. Chris Johnson in the backfield is another. The Titans are certainly close to the playoffs, barely missing out last year on tiebreakers. Manning probably puts them in the big dance.

The quarterback is looking for another Super Bowl (at least) before he hangs it up. If he can find a team that gives him that kind of chance immediately (which the Titans do), he’s going to take them under greater consideration than a team that is looking for a draw for fans and free agents.

At this point, I would say that the Titans’ biggest competition comes from the Mile High City of Denver. The Broncos have a similar squad that actually did win a playoff game last year, and they also have John Elway in the front office. He knows a thing or two about quarterbacks and Super Bowls.

It’s going to be a close race. Tennessee is out in front, I think. Denver is right there with them. Can you say photo finish?