Not since LeBron James gave us “The Decision,” where King James announced he was taking his talents to South Beach, has there been such a stir over where a superstar might land. Yes, after being slobbered over by a filthy rich almost 90-year-old oil baron (Bud Adams), a superstar ex-QB eager to have his former team run by anyone other than the polarizing Tim Tebow (John Elway), and a team so desperate for a QB that they brought in David Garrard (Miami), Peyton Manning will decide either Monday or Tuesday where to take his enormously talented arm and brain, extremely fragile neck, and his “aw shucks” attitude to a team willing to pay him in excess of $18 Million a year and give him a chance at the playoffs.
While Tennessee can open up the pocketbook and have a former superstar running back in Chris Johnson (whose heart and effort is at question after a sub par season following a holdout for a massive contract), their receiving corps leaves little to be desired. Kenny Britt, Nate Washington and Jared Cook will not remind Manning of Wayne, Garcon, and Dallas Clark. Plus, they have a young (and allegedly) talented Jake Locker ready to take over for Matt Hasselbeck when he inevitably hurts himself watching Chris Johnson trying to block a blitzing Clay Matthews. Peyton’s neck is telling his brain to stay as far away from Nashville as possible.
Here is the only reason you need for Manning not going to Miami: Gloria Estefan and Marc Anthony are co-owners. This is not a recipe for success.
While Denver might seem like a logical landing spot for the Neck — after all, a former great QB named Elway is running the show there now — don’t believe it. Fanatical Tim Tebow fans will burn down Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium should Manning even hint at signing there. Although if Manning is smart, he should make a deal with Touchdown Jesus–Manning won’t sign with Denver if Tebow heals his neck.
The team that seems to have leapt out of the fog and into the lead may very well be the San Francisco 49’ers. They appear to have let free agent Alex Smith walk (who is looking like he may meringue down to Miami) and QB guru Jim Harbaugh could easily fit Manning into a system that has the uber-talented Vernon Davis, newly signed Mario Manningham and the man-child Michael Crabtree (talent of a man, attitude of a child) awaiting, along with a defense that took the Giants to the limit in the NFC Championship this past season. Plus the 49’ers have over $23 million in cap space and could easily succumb to Manning’s salary extortion–er, demands. Look for a hard push by San Francisco to lure Manning over to the NFC.
Unless Manning looks at real estate prices in the Bay Area first–then all bets are off.
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