Which team will Peyton Manning be playing for next season? (Michael Conroy / Associated…)
Potential suitors for free-agent quarterback Peyton Manning in order of likeliest destinations:
Miami: The Dolphins need to sell tickets and owner Stephen Ross is star-struck. The team has the money, and a star receiver in Brandon Marshall. That's a tough division, though, with three cold-weather teams.
Seattle: The Seahawks need a quarterback, and blew it last year by passing on Andy Dalton. Their owner has the deepest pockets in the league, and Pete Carroll would let Manning mold that up-and-coming roster to his liking. Playing in the so-so NFC West would be enticing too.
Arizona: Domed stadium, warm climate, Pro Bowl receiver Larry Fitzgerald, NFC West — what's not to like? Like Seattle, Arizona doesn't have a rich history of success, and is Cardinals ownership ready to pay what's required to land Manning?
Washington: Redskins owner Dan Snyder has a history of playing fantasy football in free agency, overpaying for big stars and rarely getting the desired results. The jury is out on how well Mike Shanahan and Manning would work together. Would they have a meeting of the minds, or just bump heads?
New York Jets: Only New York is big enough to accommodate dueling Mannings. The Jets have been rocked by controversy and dissension, something that will give Peyton pause. Rex Ryan insists he has no plans to give up on Mark Sanchez, but Manning probably would be too tempting to resist.
San Francisco: Coach Jim Harbaugh says he's committed to Alex Smith, and Smith certainly came through last season. The 49ers have a grind-it-out running offense and are light on receivers (though they have a great tight end in Vernon Davis), so Manning would bring big changes.
Denver: Brace yourselves, Tebowmaniacs. The Broncos are going to add a couple of quarterbacks, and they'll take a long look at Manning. That would be a fascinating quarterback depth chart. Besides, what quarterback wouldn't love having a defense like that?
Kansas City: The Chiefs are a longshot here, and they have a lot invested in Matt Cassel. That said, the pressure is on General Manager Scott Pioli to win now, and that's worth at least a peek at one of the greatest quarterbacks in history.
Houston: Even though he leaves Indianapolis on good terms, Manning would love to face the Colts twice a season while playing (indoors, again) for the division's new powerhouse. That said, the talent-rich Texans have a lot of money tied up in Matt Schaub.
Cleveland: The Browns do need a quarterback, but they're more than one player away from being consistently competitive in that division, and a short-term star isn't the answer. Their best bet is to trade up to No. 2 and take Baylor's Robert Griffin III.