The chase for Peyton Manning's services officially kicked off today, with Manning boarding a plane bound for Denver. According to various reports, Manning is scheduled to meet with players and coaches, along with Denver Broncos football czar John Elway. However, that's all that is reportedly on the table - with no contract negotiations, and maybe more importantly from a Miami Dolphins fan's standpoint, no workouts scheduled to happen.
Manning is then heading further west to visit with the Arizona Cardinals before returning to his home in Miami.
The Dolphins are scheduled to meet with Manning upon his return. The timing of that meeting has not been solidified, with it possibly happening Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday.
According to a Denver Post report today, the Broncos are planning to pull out all the stops in their pursuit of Manning. As the report states, the Broncos have the cap space to bring in Manning, and build a team around him. According to the article, the Broncos are "willing to do what it takes to sign Manning."
If the Broncos were able to bring in Manning, the focus would immediately turn to the future of current Broncos starting quarterback Tim Tebow. Tebow went 7-4 as a starter last season, leading the Broncos to the AFC West title and a playoff berth. However, he had a completion percentage of only 46.5%, and a 72.9 passer rating.
Tebow is a fan favorite in Denver, and around the NFL - as was seen by Tebow bumping Manning off the cover of the first issue of NFL Magazine.
Of course, the fact that the Broncos were the first team to host Manning, and not the Dolphins, has sent fans in Miami into a hysteria. However, multiple reports have stressed that Miami is still in the running, and could still be the favorite. Manning had to start his visits somewhere - Denver happened to be the place.
Denver could make a hard sale, and push to not let Manning leave without a deal, but this will be the only free agency period in Manning's career. He's going to want to see what other teams have to offer, and he's going to want to talk to at least the Cardinals and Dolphins before he makes a decision.
Now it's just time to sit back and wait. The Dolphins are still in the hunt. This was never going to be a quick decision. Manning's goal, as was reported yesterday, is to have this decision done by the end of next week. Teams want to have it done by Tuesday, in time for the start of free agency. Either way, that's not Friday. That's not Saturday. That's not Sunday.
Manning Watch is still alive and well. Now, it's time to watch.