At this point nobody knows for certain whether the Denver Broncos are going to land Peyton Manning, or whether they’re really even favorites to land him.
Sure, all of ESPN’s NFL insiders seem to believe that it's more or less a done deal, but there is nothing about what Denver could offer that’s head and shoulders above what other teams could offer. Common sense says that while Manning very well could end up a Bronco (they’re not a bad option for him, by any means) talk that’s indicating his signing is imminent is a little premature.
What isn’t premature, though, is acknowledging that Tim Tebow is most likely going to be wearing different colors by the start of next season. Regardless of what happens with Manning, the odds of Tebow hanging around with an organization that very clearly wants no part of him as a starter makes little sense. Obviously he turned the other cheek in the face of constant undermining from John Elway all last season, and obviously his faith makes him a little more forgiving than your typical money-is-my-religion, me-first quarterback generally would be. But even he has to have a breaking point.
According to ProFootballTalk (PFT), if the Broncos sign Manning, Tebow is done:
There’s a good reason for Tim Tebow to be rattled by the Broncos’ pursuit of Peyton Manning.
Per a source with knowledge of the dynamics in Denver, if the Broncos land Manning, Tebow most likely will be gone.
He wouldn’t be cut. He’d be traded.
An earlier report by ESPN indicated that the Broncos are a favorite to land the biggest free agent in football:
After at least 12 teams contacted Peyton Manning when he became a free agent, the former Indianapolis Colts quarterback has narrowed his options.
The Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals, the first two teams Manning visited, are considered his two likeliest landing spots, according to sources familiar with the situation.
A couple of things:
First and foremost, we are still very early in this process. Saying that Manning considers Denver and Arizona as his two most likely landing spots is fine – but the caveat that those are the only two places he’s visited thus far is an important one. For all we know, when he visits with the Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins and so on and so forth, those will become his new likeliest landing spots.
The second and far more important point to take away from this is that the Broncos' serious pursuit of Manning will not come without cost. Elway and Co. know that asking Tebow to sit back and watch them scout out his replacement -- after he pulled the Broncos out of the pits last year and led them to an upset victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs -- is a blatant slap in the face. It’s one of those moves that there is no coming back from. If this squad doesn’t land Manning, they’ll have a hard time pretending as though all is good and that Tebow is the guy they wanted all along.
They want someone else. They know. We know it. Tebow knows it.
The countdown to Tebow in a Jacksonville Jaguars (or whoever else's) uniform started with the second the Broncos expressed interesting in acquiring Manning.