However, as we've been saying since Thursday, the Chiefs and the agents for Manning continue a dialogue that they hope would produce a visit by Manning to Kansas City within the next 24-72 hours.
Thus even though the national pundits claim that Manning has told the Chiefs he's not interested, we believe otherwise. At the heart of the confusion for Kansas City, the Chiefs want to narrow down a contract before bringing Manning to town. And that's good business.
If you remember back in 1993, then General Manager Carl Peterson, did the same thing with Joe Montana before he came to Kansas City for his official visit. Peterson was insistent that the Chiefs get a deal done with Montana and that terms of the potential trade with San Francisco were in place before Montana set foot in Kansas City.
The Chiefs quite likely are doing the same thing with Manning. And honestly, it's the right move. They aren't going to be held hostage by Manning's agent, Tom Condon. Nor are they going to get into a bidding war.
Last Thursday, per two NFL sources, the Chiefs and Manning's agency had a lengthy afternoon negotiating session that produced a very lucrative contract offer from Kansas City.
However, based on our sources on Monday, the Chiefs wanted to structure the inflated numbers one direction and Manning's camp wanted it a different way.
At that point, Manning set up his visits and Chairman of the Board, Clark Hunt, went on the airwaves claiming of the Chiefs interest in Manning. So much so, he refused to comment on the status of those talks. And that was a strong indication that talks had progressed beyond what has been reported by other media outlets.
What we do know is that Manning may not sign with any team prior to the start of free agency. We're not even sure if he has more visits lined up. Per Doug Farrar of Yahoo Sports, the Seattle Seahawks remain interested. He also claims the Chiefs are still in the mix for Manning.
However one theory hitting NFL circles this morning is that Manning is avoiding visiting the Chiefs, Seahwaks or Dolphins for fear of potential tampering charges. The Chiefs were very clear that they'd make a run for Manning prior to his release.
That aside, the big issue now for the Chiefs is their impending battle with the Broncos over Manning. Whichever team lands the superstar quarterback will have the upper hand in the AFC West for the next two seasons.
And that's something the Chiefs have to insure doesn't happen.
It's doubtful Manning will find a home in the NFC and that leaves, what we've been saying since Thursday, that this remains a two or three horse race between AFC West rivals and the one in the AFC East. But if the AFC West teams don't get this resolved amongst themselves a team like the Houston Texans might jump into the foray or Manning signs with the Miami Dolphins.
So what will happen?
It's very simple. If Clark Hunt and General Manager Scott Pioli up the price to Manning, they can bridge any gap or desire for him to sign with any other NFL team.
It's clear the Chiefs are a better fit for Manning but money is an issue. Kansas City has lots to spend and from what we've been told at Warpaint Illustrated, they have structured a very nice financial package to Manning.
And based on that offer, plus the fact Manning is scheduled to earn $80 million in endorsements in 2012, he's going to be even richer than he already is at the moment.
But time is running out. And the Chiefs need to step up their game quickly if they want to pry Manning away from John Elway and the Denver Broncos.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Can the Chiefs pull off a Manning deal?
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