Manning’s Tennessee roots may be hard for Broncos to cut
DENVER – Peyton Watch 2012 will come to a conclusion by Tuesday if Manning adheres to his self-imposed deadline to decide where he will play football next season.
While many teams may salivate at the prospect of signing Manning, only three teams seem to have a seat at the table: Tennessee, Denver and San Francisco.
According to multiple media reports, negotiations will begin with a 5-year, $90 million contract offer that is similar to his most recent deal with his former employer. At least publically, none of Peyton’s top three suitors are flinching at his price tag. Championships come at a cost.
And each is willing to bet Peyton is the same Manning who is the league’s only four-time MVP, a quarterback with a Superbowl history and possible Superbowl future, and a future hall of famer who will immediately impact his team’s ability to win games.
Each is betting Manning has persevered through multiple neck surgeries and has fully recovered after sitting on the sidelines last season.
During the past week Peyton has met with each team’s executives and medical staff. He has worked out while they watched and waited for any sign his throwing arm wasn’t worth millions of dollars.
Broncos’ executive vice president John Elway seems ready to ante up.
“We enjoyed visiting with Peyton today in N.C. He threw the ball great and looked very comfortable out there,” Elway tweeted Friday after meeting with Peyton for the second time.
Representatives with the Titans echoed Elway’s sentiments.
The Titans were “very impressed” with Manning, according to ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio. His source believes “Tennessee’s front office remains optimistic Manning will decide to join the Titans.”
Titans’ owner Bud Adams has been upfront about his desire to add Manning to his payroll, and is ready to bet the ranch by offering Manning a lifetime contract, according to The Tennessean.
Speculation about Manning’s decision is lighting up the twittersphere, but while Manning the quarterback weighs his options, Manning the husband and father is focused on his family.
According to The Denver Post’s Mike Klis, the Mannings celebrated their anniversary Saturday somewhere in the Smokies. His twins turn 1 year old in two weeks. Manning will celebrate his 36th birthday Saturday, March 24. Manning the millionaire seems to be in no hurry to decide his fate in football.
By coincidence, or perhaps unintended consequence, there has been movement for the players potentially impacted by Manning’s decision.
San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith met with the Miami Dolphins and may soon meet with Seattle, according to ESPN.
Broncos quarterback Brady Quinn has signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. Tim Tebow is spending his off season doing charity work during Peyton Watch 2012.
But don’t expect Manning to announce his decision until after his anniversary weekend wraps up, Klis says, and Tennessee may have the best hand at the table.
Manning played college football for the University of Tennessee. His wife grew up in Memphis, where she and Peyton married in 2001.
Manning clearly has roots in the Volunteer State.