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#pounditSunday, October 1, 2023

Chargers GM A.J. Smith thinks Archie Manning is masterminding Peyton Manning’s free agency tour

Most people believe that wherever Peyton Manning decides to play in 2012, he is going to make his decision quickly. Over the weekend, Manning reportedly narrowed his choices down to two or three teams — the Cardinals, Broncos, and Dolphins. Of course, any other “mystery” team like the Titans could come charging in at any second, but for now the aforementioned teams have warranted the most chatter. According to Chargers GM A.J. Smith, anyone who wants to know where Manning will sign should simply ask his father Archie, who Smith believes is spearheading the entire operation.

“I do wish him the best in whatever the Manning family decides,” Smith said according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I don’t know why you would ask me. And I don’t know why anyone is asking Peyton. If you really want to know what’s going on — what trips he’s making and where he’s going to play — call Archie.”

Smith, of course, could still have a sour taste in his mouth from the 2004 draft, when the Chargers were forced to trade Eli Manning to the Giants because Archie insisted that Eli not play in San Diego.

Perhaps Archie does have a hand in deciding where his Hall of Fame-bound son ends up. The Mannings are a notoriously close-knit family, and Archie did say a few months ago that Peyton and Andrew Luck would not play together in Indianapolis. The Colts’ decision to cut Manning had a lot to do with not wanting to pay him his roster bonus, but it is doubtful he would have wanted to stay with the celebrated rookie coming along anyway. Archie may not ultimately decide where Peyton plays next season, but it’s safe to assume the four-time MVP is listening to what his father has to say.


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