Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan met with quarterback Peyton Manning at Shanahan’s home in Denver when Manning was a free agent prior to his signing with the Broncos last week.
The meeting took place on the day after it was reported that the Redskins had completed their trade with the St. Louis Rams for the second overall selection in the NFL draft. The Redskins are likely to use that pick on Robert Griffin III, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Baylor.
It is not clear how seriously Manning considered signing with the Redskins, or how intent the team remained on trying to sign Manning after completing the trade with the Rams.
Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, did not respond to a request for comment
Shanahan’s meeting with Manning, which first was reported by Sports Illustrated, was confirmed by two people with knowledge of it.
The meeting took place on March 10. According to the Sports Illustrated report, it lasted three hours and also included Shanahan’s son Kyle, the Redskins’ offensive coordinator.
The Sports Illustrated report described Manning as “stunned” when he got word the previous night, during a meeting with Broncos front office executive John Elway, about the Redskins’ trade with the Rams. According to the report, the Shanahans wanted to meet with Manning the following day anyway and Manning agreed.
Several people familiar with the process said earlier in the offseason that the Redskins planned to pursue Manning aggressively and, if they were rebuffed in that pursuit, would do all they could to trade up in the first-round draft order to get Griffin.
But people who knew Manning said when Manning became a free agent that the Redskins faced significant obstacles in trying to sign him. If he’d chosen the Redskins, Manning would have had to face his brother, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, twice per season. Peyton Manning would have joined a Redskins team that didn’t seem championship-ready, having totaled only 11 victories the past two seasons, and lacked a proven offensive line and a 1,000-yard receiver last season. He would have had to switch conferences from the AFC to the NFC.
There was speculation at the time that Manning wanted to find a team with which he could play his home games indoors, but that ended up not being the case when he chose the Broncos. People who knew Manning also said at the time, though, that Manning would like the organizational stability that Shanahan, a two-time Super Bowl-winning coach in Denver, and General Manager Bruce Allen have given the Redskins.
The Redskins didn’t appear to get far in the Manning sweepstakes. He narrowed his choices to the Broncos, Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers before signing a five-year, $96 million contract with Denver last week.
It’s also not clear if the Redskins could have fit such a significant contract for Manning beneath their salary cap after the NFL reduced the team’s salary cap by $36 million over two years. At least half of that salary cap cut must be absorbed by the Redskins for the upcoming season.