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Cardinals' interest in Manning not that far-fetched

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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Posted Jan. 28, 2012 @ 11:39 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

Is it really possible the Cardinals could have an interest in landing Peyton Manning, as has been rumored by both ESPN's Adam Schefter and CBS' Charlie Casserly?

Although a multitude of factors would have to fall into place, team insiders tell us stranger things have happened.

"It's not completely out there," one insider told PFW of the rumors suggesting that Manning could finish out his illustrious career in the desert. "It's not emanating the rolling eyeballs like the constant Donovan McNabb-to-Arizona rumors did for so long. That was never going to happen."

So, what would have to happen for Manning to actually be considered a possibility to be wearing a Cardinals uniform in 2012?

For starters, Manning, who turns 36 on March 24, must get a clean bill of health after undergoing three different surgical procedures on his neck, which is far from a given.

In addition, Colts owner Jim Irsay must decide to cut the cord with his longtime marquee attraction — a decision expected to be made before March 8, when Manning is due a whopping $28 million roster bonus.

If Manning is then free to leave, the likely heavy competition for his services would present another huge hurdle for the Cardinals.

A less daunting hurdle, we hear, would be a decision by the Cardinals on what to do with Kevin Kolb, the current starting QB, should Manning become available.

"If a healthy Manning was in the picture, I think it would be hard to bring Kolb back," the insider said of the team's incumbent QB, who just happens to be due a $7 million roster bonus on March 17.

"I don't think anybody would be heartbroken, since Kolb hasn't done much to win people over."

The consensus is that the Cardinals could present a scenario that just might win Manning over in a major way.

"For one thing, he'd be hooking up with one of the league's best receivers in Larry Fitzgerald," the insider said. "He'd also be playing for a head coach, in Ken Whisenhunt, who likes to throw the ball and has proven with Kurt Warner that he could mold an offense around a veteran quarterback.

"The offensive line is a question mark, but Manning could make an average tackle look good."

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