The Denver Broncos are currently in the thick of the Peyton Manning race, and along with that comes rumors of potential additions in addition. At first, Manning was connected to bringing both Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark--two of his biggest weapons at Indianapolis--along with him.
Now, my friend Josh Sanchez of NFL Spin Zone has been covering free agency, and he says that the Broncos would be willing to part ways with their first round pick for Mike Wallace of the Pittsburgh Steelers to complement Manning. Wallace is currently a restricted free agent with a first round tender, and it would certainly be interesting for the Broncos to make such a move.
Denver's first round pick is obviously very valuable, but if they offer Mike Wallace a similar deal to the one that Vincent Jackson just got from Tampa Bay, it would be hard for the Steelers to match since they've already had to cut bait this offseason to make players fit on their roster.
The Broncos do have needs on the defensive side of the ball, but if they sign Peyton Manning and supplement him with Mike Wallace, the Broncos' offense automatically goes from a run first, quick striking pass offense to a full out aerial attack supplemented by a strong running game.
Not only that, but Sanchez also predicted that Denver would sign Jeff Saturday and Dallas Clark to go along with Manning. I'm not sure if that was just a hunch or inside information, but it seems like Clark and Saturday are sort of waiting for Manning to make a decision before they proceed with their careers, unlike Reggie Wayne (boy was I wrong there).
Even if Sanchez turns out to be wrong about Wallace to Denver, he's not the only one who thinks it's a good idea. One analyst whom I hold in high regard says that Wallace would be a great fit and could help the Broncos to a Super Bowl.
That man is none other than NFL Network's Mike Mayock, who said if the Broncos get Manning, they need to surround him with extra talent, namely Wallace and Clark.
I definitely don't know how realistic it is, but I know that if the Broncos were to make a play for Wallace, it would likely go down in early April, would cost the Broncos quite a bit of cash, and would cost the Broncos a first round pick.
I believe that Wallace is better than most players we could get at number 25 overall, at least immediately. The Broncos need to continue to build the defensive line, but getting a guy like Wallace would be absolutely deadly for other teams to try and defend.
Like I said, it might not be realistic but it's an idea being thrown out there right now.
As of right now, I feel good about the chances that the Broncos will sign Peyton Manning. I don't think the 49ers are legitimately interested as has been reported, and I think that the Titans will have a very tough time duplicating the chemistry that Manning could/has built strictly in terms of football with John Elway. That's not to say that Tennessee doesn't offer a lot of good qualities, but they are going overboard with their promises of ownership, free pancakes, and essentially full control over the organization.
Peyton Manning's decision will not be similar to that of LeBron James. He's not going to fall for the off-field distractions and distant future things. Manning's goal is to win now, and I believe he can do that in Denver. He loves Eric Decker and has since his college days, and clearly the Broncos are well-positioned to make a run at guys like Wallace, unlike the Titans or the 49ers.
Let's be real for a second, though. If the 49ers were legitimately interested, where were the cameras, helicopters, flight plans, and all of this crazy coverage like we've seen from other teams? I definitely don't see it as a coincidence that Mort broke news of the Niners being a mystery team connected to Manning right after Denver leaked a contract number through the Denver Post of five years, $90 million.
You should know, in case you don't already, that Chris Mortensen and Peyton Manning share the same agents. Like I said--no coincidence.
If the 49ers had legitimate interest in Manning, they would have cut some guys to clear space and Manning would be on the roster right now while we sit here talking about how we just signed Marcus Trufant or Geno Hayes. That's just the reality of the situation.
Sans-Manning, the Niners are far better top to bottom than Denver, except at the wide receiver position. The other thing is, Manning would not have full control over the offense in San Francisco, not with Jim Harbaugh as the head coach. What would he even do?
Say what you want about this madness, but I think it's extremely entertaining and I'm strapped to my seat waiting to find out what happens next.