The mystery team everyone had speculated about has jumped into the Peyton Manning sweepstakes.
According to ESPN, the 49ers have emerged as a contender for Manning. Chris Mortensen reported that Manning worked out for 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and took a physical before he visited Denver, though he has not visited the 49ers' facility.
Manning is in Durham, where he has been working out at Duke University. The Broncos flew there Friday to see Manning throw. Mike Klis of The Denver Post reported that the Broncos have talked about a $60 million contract over five years with $30 million guaranteed. The Titans also will see Manning throw, but have not scheduled a time to do so yet.
49ers QB Alex Smith is an unrestricted free agent. He had a breakout season in 2011, throwing 17 touchdown passes and a league-low five interceptions, helping lead the 49ers to the NFC championship game. Smith and Manning are both represented by agent Tom Condon.
The Dolphins are out of the running for Manning and have put their focus on Matt Flynn. The Cardinals also appear out of the running, having to decide on a roster bonus for QB Kevin Kolb on Friday afternoon.
The way we see it
When it became clear that Manning would return to action, the 49ers became a candidate because of all the talent on the roster, Manning could make them a Super Bowl contender. But while Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke continued to show confidence in Smith, it was curious that the team had yet to sign Smith to an extension.
The 49ers signed WR Randy Moss last week, which would give Manning a deep threat in San Francisco.