The Washington Redskins have been rebuffed so far in their pursuit of free agent quarterback Peyton Manning, who scheduled a series of visits with other interested teams beginning with a trip Friday to Denver.
Some Redskins officials were not ruling out a last-gasp effort to get back in the running for Manning before he makes a decision, possibly early next week. But there also was growing sentiment within the organization that the Redskins have little chance to lure Manning to the team and soon will have to focus on attempting to trade with the St. Louis Rams for the second overall pick in the NFL draft. The Redskins hope to use that pick on Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, people with knowledge of the team’s deliberations said.
The trade talks would become more urgent should the Redskins abandon the chase for Manning, those people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the team’s intentions publicly. The Redskins have the sixth pick in April’s NFL draft.
Redskins officials declined to comment Friday.
Manning joined John Elway, the Broncos’ vice president of football operations, and other team officials Friday in Stillwater, Okla., where they were attending Oklahoma State’s pro day for NFL scouts, according to a person familiar with the situation. Manning then returned with the Broncos’ contingent to Denver’s training facility, according to the Denver Post. He also is scheduled to visit the Arizona Cardinals.
The Broncos appear to be making a strong push for Manning despite having Tim Tebow as their starter.
The Cardinals and Miami Dolphins also appeared to remain in serious contention for Manning. Manning has a home in South Florida and traveled there after Wednesday’s news conference in Indianapolis where his release by the Colts was announced. Some people in pro football continue to regard the Dolphins as the favorite to sign Manning, even with his decision to visit the Broncos first.
There was no indication Friday that Manning would visit the Redskins. The team has been in contact with Manning’s representatives and would like to sign the quarterback. But a person familiar with the situation said Thursday that there were “significant” obstacles to Washington’s bid for the quarterback, who will turn 36 this month. That person stopped short of saying that Manning had completely ruled out playing for the Redskins.
Those issues apparently include Manning’s apparent preference to stay in the AFC and his reluctance to play two NFC East games each season against his brother, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Peyton Manning, who has played all his home games to date in a domed stadium, would have to play outdoors if he signs with the Redskins. And he would join a Redskins team that was coming off a five-win season, lacked a 1,000-yard wide receiver last season and needed to upgrade its offensive line.
The Redskins have been attempting to address those problems but appear to have made little headway.
Manning may want to make a decision on a team by the time the NFL’s free agent market opens Tuesday. Barring a last-minute change of heart by him, the Redskins would attempt to outbid the Cleveland Browns, who have the fourth overall pick in the draft, for the Rams’ selection.
If they lose out in both of those competitions, the Redskins could be left scrambling for another solution at quarterback. The top possibilities would include signing veteran free agent Kyle Orton and drafting Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M in April.
Green Bay Packers backup Matt Flynn also will be an unrestricted free agent, but the Redskins aren’t interested in him, according to people with knowledge of their plans.
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