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Mattress company in Arizona puts up Peyton Manning billboard (Picture)

If Peyton Manning is going to make a decision on his playing future based on a billboard, it would appear the Dolphins and Cardinals are two top contenders to sign the four-time NFL MVP. The photo you see above was taken in Arizona, where a mattress company is doing its part to try to convince Peyton to venture out to the desert. A few weeks ago before it was even clear if Manning would be cut by the Colts, we saw a “Manning to Miami” billboard along a highway in Fort Lauderdale.

The frenzy has officially begun, and Arizona is at the forefront of things thus far. In addition to the billboard, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett even offered Manning free parking and donuts if he signs with the Cardinals. This should get increasingly entertaining as the days pass.

Thanks to SI Hot Clicks for the picture

Darnell Dockett offers Peyton Manning free donuts, parking passes, and his personal barber to sign with Cardinals

The soon-to-be most sought-after free agent in NFL history is officially on the market. Now that the Colts have officially given Peyton Manning his release, several teams around the league are undoubtedly crunching numbers and shuffling their rosters to try to make room for the Hall of Famer. One potential landing destination for Manning is Arizona, and defensive tackle Darnell Dockett is on the recruiting trail.

“We are a team that is a few pieces away from getting back to the big game,” Dockett said during a call to the NFL Network. “We got a perfect fit for him in Arizona. He can get his number and I’ll get him parking passes, free doughnuts on Saturdays. I’ll make sure my guys clean his cleats up real well. I’ll give him all my connections, even my barber.

“He’d get to play in a dome, the weather’s nice for him, our coaching staff is tremendous … we’re a few pieces away from getting back into the playoffs and doing big things. He’d have arguably the best wide receiver in the game in Larry Fitzgerald, two good running backs, a proven defense. I mean, why not?”

Players from the various suitors will all be stating their cases over the next few days, but Dockett has the bidding off to a solid start. How can you say no to free donuts and parking? Arriving at the stadium with a donut in hand and not a care in the world about where you park is huge for a franchise quarterback. Not to mention, Dockett is right about being able to play with one of the best receivers in the game. Your move, Miami, Seattle, Kansas City, Houston, Washington, and New York.

Peyton Manning to be released, let the free agency frenzy begin

In the least surprising news of the offseason, Chris Mortensen reported that the Colts would release longtime franchise quarterback Peyton Manning. Mortensen says Peyton was informed of the decision Monday night. Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay will officially announce the move in a joint press conference Wednesday.

The decision makes plenty of sense: Peyton is turning 36 years old and recovering from numerous neck surgeries. He is not the future of the franchise and the team plans to rebuild with Andrew Luck. Why hang onto Peyton and create a quarterback controversy when you can move forward with Luck and save salary cap space?

This is not a fairy tale ending; not everyone can walk away like Jerome Bettis. Players get old, they get hurt, and circumstances change. Cutting Peyton does not diminish all that he did for Indy and how great he was for the Colts. Rather, the move gives him an opportunity to begin a second career elsewhere. And that’s where the madness begins.

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Jerry Rice thinks 49ers should go after Peyton Manning

Former 49ers legend Jerry Rice believes Alex Smith did a good job leading San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game last season, but he thinks the team should go after Peyton Manning if the ex-MVP becomes available.

“I think you go for it,” Rice said Tuesday. “A guy of that talent, you’ve got everything in place. You’ve got a defense that smacks you in the mouth. You just need a little more out of the offense. That’s not knocking what Alex (Smith) did. (Manning) can take you to a whole different level.”

Rice is extremely confident in Peyton’s ability, even though Manning is recovering from surgery.

“If he goes to the Washington Redskins, I guarantee they win 10 games. If he goes to Miami, they win 10 games,” Rice said.

Maybe Rice was impressed by the video of Peyton Manning throwing at Duke and feels Peyton can return to his pre-injury form. Even though Smith looked good last season, I agree with Rice — Peyton, if recovered, can take the 49ers to another level and give them a threat on offense. Paired with that defense, San Francisco would be dangerous.

H/T Pro Football Talk

Peyton Manning completes passing drills at Duke (Video)

Peyton Manning was at the campus of Duke on Friday going through what ESPN calls “an aggressive throwing session.” And now, a brief, 30-second video has emerged of Manning in a helmet and shoulder pads going through the drills, giving the public its first glimpse of Manning’s arm in action following the multiple surgeries on his neck last year.

The video is merely cell-phone camera footage, so it’s hard to get an accurate grasp as to how well Manning is actually doing. But he does at least appear to throw the ball with decent velocity and accuracy, a promising sign given the report last month that he has a “noodle arm.” One person behind the camera also comments “good ball” after one throw. The session was run by Duke head coach David Cutliffe, who was Manning’s offensive coordinator in college at Tennessee.

Previous reports indicate that Manning is steadily getting back his throwing strength as nerves in his arm continue regenerating following his most recent neck procedure in September. Archie Manning has said his son is starting to look like his old self on the football field.

“I did see him a couple of weeks ago. He was in New Orleans, and I saw him throw,” Archie said Friday. “He looked like Peyton, so as far as throwing and velocity of the ball, he looks fine.”

Based on this video, it’s hard to confirm Archie’s comments. As far as Peyton “looking like Peyton,” then yes, he is wearing a Colts jersey and helmet and throwing to Austin Collie and Dallas Clark, which is probably good enough for Indy fans for now. But the only person whose opinion matters is Jim Irsay, who has to soon decide whether to exercise the team’s $28 million option on Manning. The March 8 deadline for that decision is just days away. Tick tock, tick tock.

Props to SportsGrid for the video

Dolphins fans put up Peyton ‘Manning to Miami’ billboard in Fort Lauderdale

Some Dolphins fans have launched a movement aimed at bringing quarterback Peyton Manning to Miami, and they even put up a billboard promoting the campaign. The billboard appears near the I-95 and I-595 junction in Fort Lauderdale and it reads “Manning to Miami.com.”

The homepage of the Manning to Miami website says:

Be Part OF “The Movement” and Make History – BRING MANNING TO MIAMI – This site has been created to help influence Peyton Manning and the Miami Dolphins that “Manning to Miami” is a movement and marriage that the entire South Florida community is behind. Tell family, friends (even enemies), tell co-workers, business associates to cast their vote and make a difference in Bringing Manning to Miami.

How many wins is Manning worth? When’s the last time we the fans have had an “impact” quarterback? What about the most cerebral quarterback of all time?

Get behind this movement and let your vote be your voice and make a difference!

By filling out this form you are casting a vote to bring Manning to Miami and a list of names will be presented to the Miami Dolphins and representatives of Peyton Manning.

BRING MANNING TO MIAMI

It was reported that the Dolphins don’t plan to bring back Chad Henne, who has been their starter the past three seasons (he got hurt early last season). The Colts are not expected to pay Peyton his $28 million bonus in March and he is expected to become a free agent.

Given the uncertainty regarding Peyton’s arm strength, we think the Dolphins should pursue free agent Matt Flynn, who played quarterback in new head coach Joe Philbin’s system in Green Bay.

Click here to see the billboard.

H/T Andrew Siciliano

Did ESPN demote Ron Jaworski to make room for Peyton Manning?

Life will be a bit more dull when we finally figure out what the future holds for Peyton Manning. At the moment, he could either retire, stay with the Colts, or wind up with any NFL team that is in need of a quarterback. One second he’s healthy enough to play and the next his arm strength is reportedly nonexistent. Unsurprisingly, a new theory has emerged as to where Manning may end up next year: in the announcer’s booth.

As we know, ESPN announced earlier this week that Ron Jaworski has been removed from the Monday Night Football broadcast booth. For now, Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will share the duties. The NY Daily News wonders if Manning might join them next season.

For if Peyton Manning decides to call it quits, not return to football for the 2012 season, ESPN has positioned itself perfectly to lure the Indy legend to Bristol.

If Manning wants to do TV next season, ESPN is our odds-on favorite to get him. Teams clear cap space. ESPN has cleared booth space…

A network would not hire a star like Manning to work regional telecasts seen by 15% of the country. If you hire Manning he must work on the No. 1 team.

If someone like Manning were to break into broadcasting, Monday Night Football would be an appetizing offer. Something tells me, however, that Manning has not given this any thought. Regardless of how many neck surgeries he has had over the past year, Peyton still wants to play football. With that in mind, I wouldn’t put it past the folks in Bristol to have kicked around the idea.