Last night, news broke around 11pm that Peyton Manning had met with the Miami Dolphins in Indianapolis. This morning, it seems that every reporter is downplaying the Dolphins meeting with Manning. Adam Schefter of ESPN believes the Dolphins are ‘not a viable option’ at this point for Manning. Schefter contends that the Broncos, Cardinals, and Titans have more to offer than the Dolphins. Jeff Darlington of NFL Networks believes that the Dolphins visit with Manning was simply out of courtesy. Meanwhile, Armando Salguero contends that the National Media is conducting an ‘assault on the Dolphins’.
Here’s the question though, why? Are the Dolphins truly a long shot at this point? If so, will they learn this quickly enough to still conduct business in free agency? Or will they sit back and wait, believing they are truly in the Manning race? After all, Matt Flynn and 600 other free agents become available at 4pm this afternoon. John Clayton said this morning that he expects Peyton’s decision by tomorrow or Thursday. The Dolphins would be wise to conduct business as usual while they wait for Manning’s decision.
The possibility does exist that the national media (guys like Schefter and Mortensen) could be wrong. After all, we heard yesterday that Manning would meet (rather informally) with Joe Philbin. As it turned out, the Dolphins had a number of members at the meeting (possibly Jeff Ireland). These are the same guys who suggested that the Dolphins were the favorites for Manning…then said that Manning wouldn’t have any further meetings (only to change their tune late yesterday). Maybe their information is wrong. Or maybe their information is right and it’s coming from the Manning camp. If the Dolphins are out of the race, why not dismiss them like Manning did to the Chiefs, Seahawks, Jets, and Redskins already?
The only logical reason is that he either doesn’t want any hard feelings from the Dolphins OR the Manning camp is making it appear that the Dolphins are ‘not viable’ to increase the offer the Dolphins make to him. And by the Dolphins offer, I’m not simply talking about money. Peyton is a creature of habit and would probably like a few of ‘his guys’ to come with him to Miami (Wayne, Clarke, etc.). He would also probably like to run an offense similar to the one he ran in Indy. So, if he does like the Dolphins as an option, he could be saying that other teams are in the lead so that Ross and Ireland give him more money…and more power (i.e his offense, his guys, etc.). The clock is ticking….and we’re all waiting….