Cardinals fans who don't want to get too excited about the possibility of Peyton Manning wearing a red jersey next season should probably stop reading now.
Manning, who is expected to be released by the Indianapolis Colts in the near future, is recovering from multiple neck surgeries. Should he be able to play next season, the Cardinals figure to be interested in the player.
"Arizona is expected to be in on Peyton Manning," ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter told ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike. "They have done due diligence."
If Schefter is to be believed, the Cardinals would have little problem parting with Kevin Kolb, who they made a significant investment in last summer, if it meant adding a future Hall of Famer like Manning. Kolb, who battled through injuries and ineffectiveness in his first season with the Cardinals, is due a $7 million roster bonus on March 17.
"If they're in on Peyton Manning I would guess they don't give Kevin Kolb the bonus and they set him free," Schefter said.
Makes sense. The Cardinals would then enter the season with Manning as the starter and John Skelton as the backup. Not a bad idea, especially if you think Skelton could become a good QB down the road.
Of course, while the Cardinals may feel like Manning is a great fit for them, the QB is going to have no shortage of options once on the open market. For a 35-year-old who has won a Super Bowl and multiple MVP awards, chances are good Manning will be looking for more than just who will offer him the most money.
That's where, Schefter said, the Cardinals come in.
"I think he's looking for stability, consistency, good offensive personnel, good coaching," he said. "He's looking for what a smart player would want, and I think when you look at the Arizona Cardinals, that's going to be their selling point."
The Cardinals as a place for stability, consistency, talent and coaching? Imagine that.
But that shows just how far the Cardinals have come, and the fact that Schefter is consistently putting the Cardinals in the mix for Manning shows that perception around the NFL of Big Red is pretty good right now.
Or, maybe, that the Cardinals are just a really good fit for the guy.
"We saw Kurt Warner come out and thrive in the desert and the heat in the latter part of his career," Schefter said. "You can play indoors, you can play outdoors, you can play with Larry Fitzgerald.
"You could be in this system in a division where you can rule that division for a while as long as you play here, so come to Arizona."
Sounds good to us.