The word is now out. According to a report, the Indianapolis Colts are going to release Peyton Manning, so to not have to pay him the $28 million bonus that he is due on Thursday, March 8. At that point, he will be the biggest free agent the league has probably ever had. The Arizona Cardinals are expected to show interest and try to acquire him.
Doing so, the Cardinals will have a small window to work with. Manning will be able to sign with any team immediately, as he will have been released, so he will not have to wait until March 13 when free agency officially begins.
Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb is due a $7 million bonus of his own on March 17. That will give Arizona a little over a week to get Manning before paying Kolb.
Manning missed the entire 2011 season because of a neck injury and subsequent surgeries. Previous to that, he had never missed a start in his career, that has been with the Colts since the beginning. He is due a $28 million bonus on March 8, and the Colts are apparently not sure enough of the viability of his future to pay him that bonus and handcuff their financial situation completely for the 2012 season.
Instead, they will likely draft QB Andrew Luck with the first pick in the NFL Draft this April and build again.
There will be a number of teams that will vie for Manning's services for this coming season, including the Arizona Cardinals, but Manning will have to show that he is progressing with his arm strength, such that he can show he will be ready for the season.
The Cardinals are among the teams interested, and many believe that they could be the best match for Manning.
The other teams rumored to be interested in Manning are the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks and even perhaps the San Francisco 49ers.
Could this really happen? Peyton Manning in Arizona as a Cardinal?
We will soon find out.
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