The most intriguing free agent acquisition in NFL history is nearly complete: Peyton Manning, released less than two weeks ago after a 14-year career with the Broncos, is headed for Denver.
Manning has decided on the Broncos ahead of the 49ers and Titans, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen, concluding a whirlwind process for the future Hall of Fame quarterback. Manning has been recruited by 12 teams and visited with five of them, narrowing his choice to Denver, Tennessee and San Francisco after meeting with the Dolphins and Cardinals.
The fallout from the move: Denver will now look to trade former first-round quarterback Tim Tebow, who led the Broncos to the playoffs last season after replacing Kyle Orton. The Broncos had indicated after the season that Tebow would go into training camp next season as their starter.
Manning must now reach agreement on a contract with the Broncos, so the team won’t officially confirm the move until the deal is signed.
Titans owner Bud Adams was told of Manning's decision this morning and released a statement through the team.
"'I want to thank the whole organization for their efforts in trying to sign Peyton and also to Peyton for the time he put into the process," he said. "Peyton called me this morning to inform me of his decision and obviously I am disappointed, because I thought we would be a perfect fit. Now that we move forward, I want our fans to know that our expectations haven’t changed – winning a championship is still the goal."
Adams said he was satisfied that his current quarterback situation - with Matt Hasselbeck as the starter and 2011 first-round pick Jake Locker as the backup - was capable of winning a title.
"I like our quarterback ituation moving forward and we will continue to build the team through free agency and the draft with that goal in mind," he said. "I also want to commend Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker. They were thrown into a very difficult situation. Matt was very.good for us last year; and at some point, we expect Jake to be our future franchise quarterback."