Peyton Manning's future employment is still a bit of a mystery at this point, but some clues have begun to pop up.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Thursday that 12 teams had been in contact with Manning's representatives, but each team doesn't have an equal chance to land the Pro Bowl quarterback.
Manning has told people he has yet to make a decision, but a few favorites have emerged. He is expected to make his pick early next week and the prohibitive favorites to land him appear to be the Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, and Washington Redskins.
Manning has a house in Florida and would be a good fit in new head coach Joe Philbin's offense. He'd be able to maintain a lot of say in the offensive gameplan and be able to team up with wide receiver Brandon Marshall for one of the top quarterback-wide receiver tandems in the NFL.
He is also clearly wanted in Miami, as evident by the public pitches by Miami athletes. Lebron James and Dwyane Wade are expected to pitch Manning on the benefits of playing in Miami, while Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino said he would answer the phone if Manning had any questions about playing with the Dolphins.
Even Donald Trump believes that Manning should be in Miami.
First of all (Dolphins owner) Steve Ross is a very good friend of mine, Trump told reporters according to the New York Daily News. He's a member of my club in Palm Beach and I think Peyton would be great for Miami. It would be a fantastic thing for this area.
The other popular destination choice for Manning is Denver. The Broncos have the extremely popular Tim Tebow as their starter, but adding Manning could be the perfect move in both the short term and long term for the organization. Manning would immediately raise the level of play for what is already a playoff team, while also serve as a positive mentor to Tebow, especially in the quarterback mechanics department.
He'd get to stay in the AFC and have a chance to compete for a Super Bowl behind the staunch Broncos defense.
One of the most important things that needs to be decided is exactly what Manning is looking for in a team. Does he want a chance to immediately compete for a Super Bow? I'd say yes.
But CBS Sports has reported sources close to Manning say that the front-runner to land Manning will be whatever team offers the most guaranteed money. That would seemingly go against the nature of the ultra-competitive athlete, but Manning has kept his opinions very close to vest so it is difficult to know for sure what he is thinking.
The Washington Redskins are a team sure to throw a lot of money his way, if Daniel Snyder's past is any indicator, but CBS Sports reported that Manning might have already told the Redskins he isn't interested in playing for them. That would certainly make a bit of sense considering his younger brother Eli already plays in the NFC East with the New York Giants.
The Jets are another team that has been bandied about a bunch, especially with the New York tabloids, but it appears doubtful at this juncture that Manning will join his brother in New York. The Jets have already committed a lot of time and resources with quarterback Mark Sanchez and Manning might not want to walk into the media firestorm that is New York City.