Peyton Manning’s free agent tour continues today with his latest stop in the desert, where he is meeting with the Arizona Cardinals, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt — a friend and golf buddy.
Since Manning’s release by the Indianapolis Colts Wednesday, mass hysteria has ensued as everyone tries to get a bead on where Peyton will play in 2012.
The Cardinals seem like a logical choice for a variety of reasons.
When examining what Manning desires of his next team — warm climate or dome team, no direct competition with brother Eli, strong receiving core, budding defense, and less admittedly a “weak division” — the Cardinals meet all these criteria.
It doesn’t hurt either that Manning has relationship with Whisenhunt, who has a track record of delivering results with an older veteran quarterback, proven by his successful run with Kurt Warner from 2005 to 2009.
Also you can’t discount the fact that the Cardinals own one of the leagues best offensive weapons in wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
Most consider “Fitz” to be the leagues top wide receiver, and if he can post 1,411 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in 2011 with poor quarterbacks (Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, and Richard Bartel), imagine what he could do with Manning at the helm.
Should Manning sign with Arizona they would immediately be considered the favorite to win the NFC West over the Rams, Seahawks, and 49ers, and essentially punch their ticket into the playoffs.
Prior to meeting with the Cardinals Manning spent Friday afternoon with the Broncos.
He spent time with John Elway, the vice president of football operations, and head coach John Fox at the teams Inglewood training facility.
He even stayed overnight.
Sources say that he emerged from the meetings very impressed with the organization and what they could offer, making Denver a strong possibility to land Manning.
Peyton has a home in the Miami area though, making the Dolphins a trendy pick to land the four-time NFL MVP.
But Manning has yet to declare any real interest in joining up with the Dolphins, even among reports that owner Jeff Ireland, and new head coach Joe Philbin, are “all-in” with their attempts to sign him.
New reports though suggest that Manning has narrowed his choices down to the Broncos and Cardinals.
That of course means the Dolphins may not even get a chance to visit with Manning.
The Seattle Seahawks also want to schedule a meeting with Manning, but noting has been set up.