The Kansas City Chiefs were linked to Peyton Manning quite a bit at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis over the weekend. First came the KC sports radio announcer linking Tom Condon, Manning’s agent, to the Chiefs in conversations specifically about Manning. Then came Romeo Crennel’s comment that he would be “crazy” not to check out a player like Manning if he was available. All in all, there was a lot of Manning to Chiefs chatter over the last few days.
The reports coming out today, however, say that Manning might have a partner in tow if a team is going to sign him. Reggie Wayne is the longtime Colts star wideout and someone with whom Manning has an obvious connection and affection. If the two are going to be a package deal, that could become a plus for some teams but a knock for others, like the Chiefs.
Peter King writes, “The Chiefs seem much more likely to build around Matt Cassel and a free-agent import to compete with him, and keep Jonathan Baldwin and Dwayne Bowe. But Peyton Manning can make teams do things they never foresaw.”
The Chiefs have already reportedly decided that they are going to use the franchise tag on Bowe if they do not work out a long-term deal. They already paid Steve Breaston for the slot receiver role, and they drafted Jon Baldwin in the first round last year. In other words, you have three receivers already being paid well and performing well for the Chiefs roster. Is there room for a receiver who will not play special teams? Not likely.
This could take the Chiefs out of play if they refuse to bring in Wayne as well. Then again, the Chiefs might make an unexpected move to bring him in, or Manning might not be as connected as some surmise at this point. What is clear is that no one really knows what to expect out of the biggest free agent story this offseason.