Here’s a fun game of Internet telephone, in which Adam Schefter not reporting anything led to a report of reports about a report.
1. In his weekly Monday mailbag, the ESPN.com reporter and longtime Shanahan confidante received a question about the Redskins’ endless search for a franchise quarterback.
Included in his response was this passage:
The Redskins went through the offseason and didn’t identify a quarterback that they felt would be a short- or long-term upgrade. That clearly must change this offseason. The problem is that there are so few options out there. The top free-agent quarterbacks are expected to be Green Bay's Matt Flynn and Oakland's Jason Campbell. The draft will be loaded with good quarterbacks, but Washington already is out of Andrew Luck range. The top option out there could be Peyton Manning, who could be available in a trade depending on any number of factors. But if the Colts ultimately decided to deal Manning, even he would come with risk (questions about his neck and durability). In the end, this is a quarterback league, and right now Washington doesn’t have a championship-caliber one.
Now, included in this non-answer were the words “Washington” and “ Peyton Manning.” But there was no report whatsoever that Manning would be traded, or that the Redskins would be interested. Just that he could theoretically be the top quarterback out there, and the Redskins need a quarterback. Everyone in the world already knew these things.
2. And yet, then came this Yahoo video report, with the label “One reputable NFL reporter speculates Peyton Manning could be headed to a franchise that hasn’t had consistency at the quarterback position in years.”
And then the narrator said this:
“Could Peyton Manning be headed to the nation’s capital? One reputable NFL reporter speculated that the Washington Redskins might try to acquire the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback. ESPN’s Adam Schefter, while answering a question from his online mailbag Monday, suggested the Skins may try to deal for Manning.”
I mean, no. He really didn’t. Unless I’m crazy. You read what Schefter wrote. Did he speculate that the Redskins may try to deal for Manning?
3. But hey, this train wasn’t going to stop so easily. So now there’s a thread on Extreme Skins, currently at 10 pages and counting, headlined “Per Yahoo/Adam Schefter - Redskins interested in Manning.” Plus another, shorter one, headlined “Yahoo Sports: Skins to trade for Peyton Manning.”