Peyton Manning schedules free agency visits with Dolphins and Titans

Peyton Manning sweepstakes going to overtime, with Dolphins, Titans, and Texans in the mix

3/12/12 in NFL   |   JoeKukura   |   447 respect

Obsessive followers of the Peyton Manning free agent sweepstakes went to bed Sunday night thinking that Manning had narrowed his search to the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals. No other NFL teams were widely considered to be in the Manning mix, and know-it-alls like myself were declaring that Manning would likely select his new team before the start of NFL free agency on 4 p.m. EDT Tuesday.

As of Monday, though, you can throw that all out the window with your laser, rocket arm. Peyton Manning has now scheduled visits with the Miami Dolphins and the Tennessee Titans, multiple sources are reporting, and the Houston Texans are stepping up their push for Manning's services.

Manning is has decided to take Monday off, according to a report in the Denver Post. This presents a near-certainty that Peyton Manning will still be up for grabs when NFL free agency begins Tuesday.

Even more alarming to Denver and Arizona fans, Manning has scheduled visits with two more teams. ESPN's Chris Mortenson reports that Manning will meet with the Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans, reportedly before the end of the day Wednesday.

'Don’t know where those visits are going to happen," Adam Schefter reported on ESPN Monday afternoon."So it may not be as elaborate or extensive as his visits to the Broncos complex in Denver or the Cardinals complex in Arizona."

In other words, no Chopper 4 helicopters this time.

"But it will give Manning an idea of what (Miami head coach) Joe Philbin is thinking for the Dolphins organization, and it will give Miami an at-bat with Peyton Manning.  Similar in Tennessee," Schefter said Monday. "It looks like Peyton Manning is going to wind up meeting with (Titans head coach) Mike Munchak as well, to get an idea of what life would be like if he were to play in Tennessee."

It's the Houston Texans, though, who are the surprise late entry in the horse race.

Houston's interest was first reported Monday morning by Mike Klis of the Denver Post, a guy who deserves to win the Pulitzer Prize for Free Agency Reporting for his efforts on this story.

"The Texans recently inquired about Manning," Klis wrote. "The Texans might be considered the Broncos' biggest threat. Like the Broncos, Houston is an AFC team. Unlike the Broncos, the Texans currently have the pieces in place to be considered a Super Bowl-contending team." He then notes that current Texans starter Matt Schaub has an injury history, and will soon be 31 years old.
 
Whoa, Matt Schaub is already considered old? That makes me feel old.

Klis' report also notes that multiple teams, including the Broncos, have already started contract talks with Manning. So whenever Peyton makes his decision, the contract  would presumably be nearly written up already and Manning would be able to sign immediately.

At least, that's what know-it-alls like myself are guessing.
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