Not long after Peyton Manning became a free agent, the suitors lined up, and now, visits are taking place. Mike Klis of the Denver Post reports that Broncos VP of Football Operations John Elway and general manager Brian Xanders, fresh from Oklahoma State's Pro Day, will fly to Miami, pick Manning up at his south Florida residence, and try to sell him on the idea of becoming the Broncos' next franchise quarterback. Klis also reports that Manning has visits lined up with the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins after he spends some time in Denver.
Of course, the Broncos already have a franchise quarterback in Tim Tebow -- at least, the fans think so. But if Elway is still hesitating on Tebow as the long-term solution, as has been reported and intimated for years, getting Manning on board would be one of the few things that would keep those very same fans from burning Elway in effigy -- no matter how much you love Tebow, how could you possibly turn down an opportunity to have a healthy Peyton Manning at the helm for a few years?
Miami is still the favorite in most pools, given the full-court press they plan to put on, but ESPN's Adam Schefter recently reported that Manning might be turned off by the media circus that will inevitably become -- when Manning returned to Florida following his release from the Indianapolis Colts, he had paparazzi following him by car and helicopter.
(Of course, having Manning replace Tebow in Denver wouldn't be a media circus. No -- not at all!)
Meanwhile, Kansas City Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said Friday on NBC-TV that his team will pursue Manning with all the franchise's resources. No visit to Kansas City has been reported at this time.
"He's one of the greatest players in the history of the league," Hunt said. "He's also an incredible person. We feel really good about the team we have in Kansas City going into the 2012 season, but we'll look for any opportunity to improve and, of course, that includes Peyton Manning. I would think that he will be looking for the situation that fits him best. I don't know how important money will be to him, but I'm sure it will be part of the equation. But he's going to be looking for an environment that he's comfortable in."
The Arizona Cardinals also present an interesting possibility, given their indoor stadium, warm-weather climate, and the fact that Larry Fitzgerald is on the roster. Other competition for Manning's services may include the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins, though a Thursday report from Chris Russell of Yahoo! Sports Radio -- who lives in the D.C. area -- indicated that the Redskins are out of the picture, and that was primarily Manning's call.
"A couple of different sources inside the organization have told me that Manning's camp made it pretty clear to Redskins officials he doesn't want to come here," Russell said on Thursday's SportsCenter.
"There's lots of reasons for that. His brother Eli, the colder weather, the whole situation down in Miami and so on and so forth. But unless that changes -- and I'm taking my sources at their word -- I don't think Manning's coming here to D.C."
Klis' report said that Manning intends to make a decision by next Tuesday, which is when NFL teams may make formal overtures to non-released free agents. Receiver Reggie Wayne, Manning's longtime teammate in Indianapolis, has said that he would love to play with Manning again no matter where he goes -- though Miami would be a preference.
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