MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With Peyton Manning traveling to Denver to meet with the Broncos; the first question on the mind of all Florida Gators and some Broncos fans is, what about Tim Tebow?
Tebow led the Broncos through an up-and-down season in 2011, but did help the team secure a playoff berth. He then followed that up with a solid performance leading the Broncos to a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the playoffs.
But, throughout the season, it pained Broncos president John Elway to see Tebow doing so well. It was a no-win situation for Elway. If Tebow played well, then the pressure to keep him on the field would be intense.
If Tebow played poorly, then the Broncos would fall and ticket sales and other keys elements of the franchise would suffer. The Broncos stuck with Tebow and the team ended up in the playoffs, but now Elway has a way out of Tebowmania.
The only way the Broncos could move Tebow out of the starting lineup would be to sign a quarterback with a bigger name than Tebow. Currently, there are only three quarterbacks who fit that mold: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning.
The first two are obviously not available, but with Manning now a free agent; the Broncos can legitimately move Tebow out in favor of Manning without inciting a massive fan revolt.
Additionally, the Broncos have close to $50 million in cap space heading into the 2012 NFL calendar year. So, theoretically, they could frontload a massive deal to pay Manning far more than almost anyone else could offer.
The Broncos could then use more of that money to sign parts to go around Peyton. The Broncos have a solid receiving corps and Willis McGahee showed new legs last season while playing with the Broncos. Adding in Manning would instantly make the Broncos the favorites in the AFC West.
But, don’t count out other teams just yet. Manning will be meeting with the Arizona Cardinals over the weekend and is set to meet with the Miami Dolphins sometime before Tuesday. Arizona is tight up against the salary cap and would need to make some major changes to acquire Manning.
The Dolphins are ready to sign Manning and insert him into the starting lineup. There would be no quarterback controversy in South Florida, and Manning and his wife already live down here, which can influence a decision in a big way.
The Broncos are just the first leg of Manning’s free agent tour. Tim Tebow could play a role in the final decision of the Broncos, but Manning will get his fill of other teams before making a final decision. Remember, the last time he was heavily recruited, he was 18-years-old and choosing his college.