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3-17-12: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - Cards Out On Manning-Palooza

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Time for more links. Now, we know that the Cards will not get Peyton Manning, Kevin Kolb will still be in red and white next season, and somehow Jim Harbaugh snuck in here and had a meeting with Peyton earlier in the week.

Also, a little story about a former Cardinals getting lost on Camelback, and the saddest story you will ever see in the hunt for Peyton Manning, this one involving the Seahawks and an airport.

Arizona Cardinals News:

Kolb Remains In Quarterback Plan
After "unique" opportunity with Manning, Cards ready to move on at QB

Cardinals to pay QB Kevin Kolb his $7 million roster bonus
Peyton Manning and the Cardinals flirted with each other, spent a glorious weekend together, but when it came time to make a commitment, Manning wasn't ready. So the Cardinals moved on. The Cardinals dropped their pursuit and kept Kevin Kolb on the roster, which requires a $7 million bonus. It was that bonus payment that created a deadline no other competitor for Manning faced. To avoid paying it, the Cardinals had to release Kolb by 1 p.m. on Friday. The only way they were going to do that was if Manning called with good news. He didn't.

Cardinals' Kevin Kolb should be motivated after the end of the Peyton Manning saga
You think you've been jilted? Try walking in Kevin Kolb's shoes. For more than a week, he has been the quarterback nobody wanted. Every talk radio show, every conversation in the produce department ended with a gleeful "and then they could release Kolb." It's not personal? Of course it's personal. Take it to heart, Kevin Kolb. And come out swinging.

Levi Returns After All
Veteran tackle, with new five-year deal, wants to play on left side

Word From the Birds Blog - Whisenhunt: Peyton no longer an option
With everything happening today, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt released a statement in regards to Peyton Manning and Kevin Kolb. Here it is in its entirety: "Regarding today’s developments and our quarterback position, acquiring Peyton Manning is no longer an option for us."

Word From the Birds Blog - Liking Levi for real
Levi Brown returns, and I can practically hear the grumbling. Not from everyone – I know that – but I’ve heard from plenty throughout the process that couldn’t and never will understand why the Cardinals wanted to hang on to Brown. I get that. I really do. But the reality is that Brown a) played much better down the stretch and may have turned a corner and b) was one of the better tackles available to bring in compared to the rest of the free agents. He knows the system, he knows Russ Grimm and he knows what is expected. Sometimes, continuity matters. More reality: If his contract hadn’t been structured like it was, he would have been back no questions asked. It’s only because of that last loopy year of his rookie deal that we are even talking about this.

On the Cardinals' Manning/Kolb explanation - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The Arizona Cardinals went into the offseason with Kevin Kolb and John Skelton as their top two quarterbacks. They will continue through the offseason that way. "Regarding today's developments and our quarterback position, acquiring Peyton Manning is no longer an option for us," coach Ken Whisenhunt said in a statement released by the team Friday. The full statement continues as follows:

Cardinals cut cord on Chansi Stuckey | ProFootballTalk
The Cardinals signed Chansi Stuckey last offseason in hopes that he could at least push Early Doucet for the team’s slot receiver job. Stuckey made it into only nine games, starting none.

Mercenary football is good -
The Arizona Cardinals courtship of Peyton Manning should have no impact on Kolb. Big Red had a chance to pursue a future Hall of Fame quarterback because he had an interest in playing for them. Matt Schaub would have a problem with this, Matthew Stafford should have a problem with this and doing this to Cam Newton would be almost criminal, but Kevin Kolb has much to prove. The Cardinals had a chance to do something special and they took a swing. No harm, no foul.

Kolb must prove Cardinals were right to choose him over Peyton Manning -
"Regarding today's developments and our quarterback position, acquiring Peyton Manning is no longer an option for us." With those words, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt effectively put an end to the team's pursuit of Peyton Manning, ending months of speculation and a week's worth of effort to land the future Hall of Fame QB. The Cards bowed out of the Manning sweepstakes largely because of a roster bonus due to Kevin Kolb, a contract stipulation that forced the Cardinals to make a decision - one way or another - by Friday afternoon: either pick up the option and keep Kolb, or cut him loose and hope for the best with Manning. They made their choice, and it was to stick with the QB they acquired last summer.

So Kevin, about that Peyton Manning flirtation... -
We've reached the second full week of Manning Watch 2012, and we know at this point that Peyton Manning will not be the next quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals. Friday, the organization beat their 1:00 p.m. deadline to honor a $7 million roster bonus due to incumbent quarterback Kevin Kolb, sewing up the immediate future at the position and effectively ending the Cardinals' pursuit of the future Hall of Famer. So now, I can only help but wonder...what's going through the mind of Kevin Kolb right now?

Clayton: Kolb's next move is to gain back trust -
It's time for everyone who followed the Peyton Manning saga to come to terms with the fact that the Cardinals are sticking with the same quarterbacks they had at the conclusion of the 2011 season. Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt stated that they'll go into next season deciding between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton for the starting spot, just like last year. But more pressure is on Kolb, who was chosen as a starter last season and whose future with the team was up in the air when the Cards waited to give him a $7 million roster bonus. blogs - Kent Somers - Restructuring Kolb's contract should be easy
The Cardinals could easily create about $5 million of cap space with a simple restructuring of quarterback Kevin Kolb's contract.

Whisenhunt confirms Cardinals are out of the mix for Manning | ProFootballTalk
The Arizona Cardinals seemed like an excellent fit when Peyton Manning hit unrestricted free agency last week. They have a top-three NFL receiver, an up-and-coming running game and defense, and a retractable-roof stadium in one of the league’s weaker divisions. Manning confirmed his interest in Arizona by paying a visit to Cardinals headquarters last weekend. But it didn’t work out.

Report: Cardinals to give Kolb $7 million bonus -
After weeks of speculation, it appears that the Arizona Cardinals have made their decison regarding quarterback Kevin Kolb, according to Suzy Kolber of ESPN via Adam Schefter.

Rumor: Broncos make offer to Manning; Cards out? -
Friday morning, news circulated that Denver Broncos sent a contingent, including head coach John Fox and John Elway, to North Carolina to watch Peyton Manning throw at Duke University. Late Friday morning, more news circulated on the Denver- Manning front, courtesy of Mike Klis of The Denver Post.

Report: 49ers suddenly in Manning chase -
Wow! As the Arizona Cardinals' chances to land Peyton Manning diminish by the minute, another team has jumped into the mix for the free agent quarterback's services, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.

Hightower rescued from Camelback Mountain in Arizona | ProFootballTalk
Last month, a former Cardinals player helped rescue passengers in a van that had flipped onto its side. On Thursday, another former Cardinals player needed to be rescued.

Arizona Sports News:

Suns climb back to .500 with win over Pistons
After winning three games in three days, capped by a 109-101 victory over the Pistons, the Suns are suddenly at the .500 mark at 22-22.

ASU Pro Day: Burfict 'average', Bolden '100% healthy' -
Vontaze Burfict, Gerell Robinson and Omar Bolden headlined the participants at this year's Arizona State Pro Day held at Sun Devil Stadium Friday. More than 40 NFL scouts and coaches were in attendance with notepads and stopwatches in hand, including Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis and Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

Vontaze Burfict bombs his Pro Day, too | ProFootballTalk
Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict bombed the Combine. His interviews were described as disastrous, and his forty time and jumps were pathetic compared to the rest of the linebackers invited to Indianapolis. So Burfict surely prepared and rebounded at his Pro Day, right? Wrong.

Loyalty makes Suns' Steve Nash stick out
When Steve Nash first met future agent Bill Duffy in 1992 as a first-day freshman at their alma mater, Santa Clara, Duffy could not have imagined he was looking at one of the highest profile NBA free agents of 2012.

NFL News:

ManningWatch: Five thoughts on 49ers - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Five things to consider as the San Francisco 49ers emerge as a team with interest in free-agent quarterback Peyton Manning:

On the 49ers' interest in Peyton Manning - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Well, then. The Arizona Cardinals' competition for Peyton Manning has grown to include a division rival. Manning worked out for San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and took a physical for the team this week, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

49ers Are In Peyton Manning Sweepstakes, According To Report -
So all that stuff about the Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos being the only two remaining teams in the race for Peyton Manning? Forget about it. There's actually a third team — the San Francisco 49ers. ESPN's Chris Mortensenreports 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh worked Manning out this week and the former Colts QB went through a physical with San Francisco. He has not visited the 49ers facility, according to the report.

John Elway Among Members Of Broncos Brass Visiting Peyton Manning -
We've now heard multiple reports that the plane leaving Denver and heading to North Carolina will, indeed, be carrying members of the Denver Broncos organization on their way to watch Peyton Manning work out at the indoor facility of Duke University. ESPN's Adam Schefter has the list of the Broncos contingent making the trip: Executive VP John Elway, head coach John Fox, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, quarterbacks coach Adam Gase, GM Brian Xanders and a medical team. In other words, all the decision makers -- minus the owner. But it's a good bet that owner Pat Bowlen has given the Broncos team his full blessing, as well as his check book.

Peyton Manning Contract Should Be Around 5 Years, $60 Million, According To Report -
The Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans are the only two teams still alive in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes and now the numbers of Manning's expected contract are coming out. According to the Denver Post's Mike Klis, Manning's contract should be in the neighborhood of five years, $60 million.

Peyton Manning Will Throw For Both Titans And Broncos, According To Report -
When we heard the Denver Broncos were flying east to work out free agent QB Peyton Manning, the obvious conclusion was that the Broncos were the leaders in the clubhouse for Manning, potentially getting close to inking a deal with him. Maybe that's the case but Manning will be throwing for the Tennessee Titans, too. NFL Network's Michael Lombardi reports the news and adds that there is no date on the workout with the Titans.

John Elway: Peyton Manning 'Threw The Ball Great' -
Elway has been more active on Twitter than any other NFL executive, so it shouldn't be surprising that he sent out this tweet after watching Manning throw:

Dolphins had to enlist Marino just to get a meeting with Manning | ProFootballTalk
In another sign that Peyton Manning was never high on the Dolphins, a report out today says that Manning wasn’t even willing to talk to the Dolphins until one of his childhood heroes, Dan Marino, intervened on his old team’s behalf.

Report: Dolphins make low-ball offer to Matt Flynn | ProFootballTalk
Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Miami Dolphins are "low-balling" free agent quarterback Matt Flynn in contract negotiations. The Dolphins’ thinking is apparently that Flynn wants so badly to play for head coach Joe Philbin, his offensive coordinator in Green Bay, that Flynn might be willing to settle for significantly less than market value.

For Stephen Ross, the big splash could end up being Tebow | ProFootballTalk
As Peyton Manning gets closer to a decision about his future (hopefully, he’s not getting farther away from making up his mind), the Broncos remain extremely viable — especially with the Dolphins reportedly focusing on Matt Flynn and the Cardinals having to decide by 4:00 p.m. ET on Friday whether to keep Kevin Kolb on the roster and owe him $7 million as of Saturday. If the Broncos land Manning, it’s highly likely that they’ll send Tim Tebow packing.

Sanchez rips "gutless" anonymous Jets | ProFootballTalk
After the Jets melted down at the end of the season, several stories published anonymous quotes from players inside the locker room, ripping Sanchez. Now Sanchez is ripping them back.

Report: Manning plans to sign early next week | ProFootballTalk
NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported late Friday that free agent quarterback Peyton Manning has informed the three finalists for his services — Denver, Tennessee, and San Francisco — that he plans to choose a new team "on Monday or Tuesday."

Brandon Marshall has absolutely no fear that he’ll be suspended | ProFootballTalk
At his introductory press conference as a Chicago Bear, Brandon Marshall said that despite allegations that he punched a woman at a nightclub over the weekend, he’s certain when the facts come out he will not be facing any legal problems, or any NFL discipline. Asked if he’s afraid the NFL will suspend him, Marshall said there’s no reason to worry about that.

In light of 2001 Hasselbeck trade, Holmgren’s complaints are hollow | ProFootballTalk
Browns president Mike Holmgren isn’t happy that his team wasn’t selected to make a deal with the Rams for the second overall pick in the draft.

Whitehurst perception did not match reality - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Charlie Whitehurst is heading back to San Diego from Seattle on a two-year contract. There are no refunds in the NFL, but if there were, the Seahawks would be entitled to ask for one, with or without a receipt. Whitehurst attempted only 155 passes for the team after Seattle acquired him from the Chargers for a 2011 third-round pick and a swap of 2010 second-rounders.

Seahawks Blog | Report: Seahawks had plane waiting for Manning | Seattle Times Newspaper
The fact that Peyton Manning didn't respond to the Seahawks' interest in acquiring him is not a revelation. The efforts Seattle made to get a meeting, however, is interesting because in a report regarding the San Francisco 49ers' interest in Manning is the nugget that the Seahawks had a jet in Denver where Manning visited last Friday, hoping to get a visit with Manning.