ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter mention an interesting nugget in reporting that the San Francisco 49ers are the mystery team in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes is this nugget.
Manning first visited the Broncos March 9, followed by a visit to the Cardinals, but there were other unreported developments last weekend, such as the Seattle Seahawks parking a jet at an airport in the Denver area in a failed attempt to visit with the quarterback, according to sources.
The Seahawks were persistent in their pursuit of Manning for a couple reasons. First, they understand that Manning could make Seattle a Super Bowl contender. Second, the Seahawks in a way were playing defense, making it harder for Manning to take an offer with NFC West rivals Arizona and San Francisco.
And Seattle may have succeeded in their goal. Darren Urban of AZcardinals.com reports the Cardinals are officially out of the Peyton Manning sweepstakes.
Mike Klis of the Denver Post reports that the Broncos are meeting with Peyton Manning and offering a five-year, $90 million deal after watching him throw in North Carolina this morning.
One interesting development in the ongoing Manning saga is this – Alex Smith could be available for Seattle if the team is interested.
in doing research for saints-49ers, one person close to alex smith told me seattle had a VERY strong interest in him. hadn't heard that b4.— Jim Trotter (@SI_JimTrotter) January 12, 2012
And now with the possibility of Manning heading to San Francisco creating the potential for a strained relationship between Jim Harbaubh and Smith, and the fact that the Niners have only offered a three-year deal, the Utah product could be interested in considering his options.
Smith could see San Francisco’s unwillingness to commit to a long-term deal as evidence they believe Colin Kaepernick is the team’s franchise quarterback of the future — not him.
And Seattle head coach Pete Carroll was effusive in his praise for Smith after Seattle’s 19-17 loss to San Francisco at CenturyLink Field, calling Smith a difference maker in the game.
“Alex did a nice job,” Carroll said. “I really thought he was the difference in the game for them. His ability to extend plays, and to give them a second chance where they could go for it on fourth down – he made a big scramble when we had him trapped back there. And also on the fourth down play, keeping the play alive and eventually hitting the tight end for the first down.
“Those are plays that he made that were really effective in this game. … I thought he did a very nice job. Of course he didn’t turn the ball over at all, which is great for them. But those handful of plays where he kept the thing going I thought game them an advantage on us.”
Really, you just need to look at one stat in comparing Smith and Jackson for a reason the Seahawks might be willing to make the switch.
Smith led San Francisco to six, fourth-quarter comebacks last year, while Jackson was 0 for 4 in those situations.
Even if Manning lands in Tennessee, Smith could be available. Why? As Matt Maiocco of CSNBayarea.com notes, the 49ers showed interest in Matt Hasselbeck before he ultimately signed in Tennessee, and almost signed in San Francisco. Hasselbeck likely will be let go by the Titans and become a free agent if they sign Manning, and could be a target again for San Francisco.