If nothing else, Sports Illustrated's Peter King has a lot of NFL contacts, and he put them to good use in this sprawling story about Peyton Manning's courting, and eventual signing, by the Denver Broncos. Most of King's piece concerns the Broncos, who were in on Manning from the start. But there is one tidbit that strikes us as interesting. It takes place during a dinner between Manning and John Elway on Friday, March 9, a.k.a. the night this happened.
Midway through the evening Elway received a text telling him the Redskins had just pulled off a huge trade with St. Louis for the second pick in the draft, presumably to take prized Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. Elway told Manning, "Whoa—Washington just traded for the second pick. Looks like they'll get RG3."
"What!?" Manning said, stunned.
From that reaction, Elway knew that the Redskins had been on Manning's list.
You will recall that ESPN980's Chris Russell had reported the previous day that Manning had told the Redskins he had no interest in coming to D.C. As it happened, King reports, Manning did take a meeting with Mike and Kyle Shanahan at the father's Denver home on Saturday the 10th, despite the fact that the Redskins had essentially shut themselves out of the bidding with the trade.
Though it made little sense after the Rams deal, the Shanahans wanted to keep the date, and Manning did. They discussed football for three hours at Shanahan's expansive house in Denver. Talk about strange connections. Shanahan had been Elway's coach for those two Super Bowls and was fired by the Broncos after the 2008 season. Now Elway ran the Broncos. As Shanahan talked with Manning, a text message popped up on the coach's phone. It was from Elway. "Hey, Mike, put in a good word for us with Peyton." All Shanahan could do was laugh.
So, if King is correct, here's what we know: Manning was interested in the Redskins (or, perhaps, Dan Snyder's money), the Redskins were interested as well (it is Peyton Manning, after all), but not so interested that they were willing to put all their eggs in that basket and hold off on pulling the trigger on a potential franchise-defining trade.
Got all that?