Manning Watch: “Mystery Team” Emerges; Likely Down to Final Three

There was quite a bit happening today in the race to sign Peyton Manning.

First off, we found out that the Dolphins are officially out (in fact, they were never really in).  We also know that Arizona is likely out and will keep Kevin Kolb [UPDATE: head coach Ken Whisenhunt confirmed that the Cardinals are out].

Then, knowing they are in second, the Broncos brought a large group out to North Carolina to watch the 4 time MVP throw and meet with him today.  Adam Schefter tweeted:

Broncos traveling party includes Exec VP John Elway, HC John Fox, OC Mike McCoy, QB coach Adam Gase, GM Brian Xanders and a medical team.

The team in first, the Tennessee Titans, have not yet seen Manning throw, but reports say that Manning will throw for them soon.

The Broncos also reportedly offered Manning a 5 year contract for $60 million with $30 million guaranteed.  They may need to go higher, however.

The big news of today is that the mystery team that I, along with many others, have been waiting for emerged.  The San Francisco 49ers.  The 49ers lost in overtime in the NFC Championship game, and while free agent quarterback Alex Smith had a career year last season, Manning would certainly be an upgrade.  Of the contenders, the 49ers are the one team that Manning would have a better shot at winning the super bowl with than the Broncos.  The one red flag I see is that the 49ers just signed WR Randy Moss, who is not a great teammate to his quarterbacks.

I think these three teams are the ones that are going down to the finish.  Where will Peyton Manning play in 2012?  Denver, Tennessee, or San Francisco? 

We will find out soon.

UPDATE: Tweet from Broncos’ executive vice president John Elway:

We enjoyed visiting with Peyton today in N.C. He threw the ball great and looked very comfortable out there.

Watching him throw today was the next step in this important process for our team and Peyton. It was a productive visit and went well.

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About Josh Wilson
Follow Josh on twitter @jwilsonWL, on Facebook at the Operation: Freedom page, or you can reach him by email at operation.freedom@yahoo.com.

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