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Report: Peyton Manning to be released (warm up the helicopter!)

Peyton Manning is going to be released by the Indianapolis Colts and a press conference to announce the parting of ways is expected by Wednesday, ESPN is reporting.

Next stop Miami!

Um, I mean, next stop Miami?

Once Manning is free, the Dolphins expect to involve themselves in the chase for the future Hall of Fame quarterback immediately. Manning is able to sign right away. He doesn't have to wait until the start of free agency March. 13.

How likely the Dolphins are to land him is unknown and opinions vary based on who is talking. But suffice to say the Dolphins are "very confident" they have a good chance to land Manning assuming he is healthy, according to one club source.

Of course, one almost expects that to be the feeling. The Dolphins were confident they would land Jeff Fisher. The Dolphins were confident they would be in the playoffs the past couple of seasons. Confidence is good. But confidences guarantees nothing.

I'm told the team has had unofficial and off-the-record conversations with the "Manning camp" the past three months, although my source would not say if that included contact with Manning or his agent. [CORRECTION: Got a call from my source who says the conversations were the past three weeks, not months.] I'm also told the team would deny any contacts whatsoever because it could be deemed to violate the NFL tampering policy.

I do not know if these touch-base contacts assure the Dolphins of anything. Manning is expected to be a popular commodity in free agency.

Kansas City, Arizona, Denver, Washington and possibly the Jets are among some of the teams expected to show interest in Manning, along with Miami.

Because of the interest, I would not expect a bargain basement sale for Manning's services. Although his representatives have leaked word that Manning would accept an incentive laden contract that does not include high guaranteed money, there is word among NFL people that can change very quickly.

The truth is Manning has been throwing better of late and that, along with the expected high demand, could drive up his price. And that includes some guaranteed money, although not as much if he was younger and not dogged by his recent neck/nerve injury history.

Manning, 36 in two weeks, would typically be worth around $20-23 million per year. One could expect that Manning signs a deal that through guarantees and incentives (if earned) lands in the vicinity of that mark.

 

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