Warner: Miami the frontrunners for Manning

Mar 9, 2012, 11:24 PM | Updated: Mar 10, 2012, 6:30 pm

Two-time former NFL MVP Kurt Warner knows he could be a factor in luring
coveted free agent quarterback Peyton Manning to Arizona.

“I have not heard from Peyton [Manning] yet,” Warner told Arizona Sports
620’s Doug and Wolf Friday. “We have not had a chance to talk since he’s
been released. I don’t know if that will happen if he does come here and
considers Arizona, if he’ll reach out to me and talk to me.”

Manning would be wise to pick Warner’s brain since the Cardinals’ coaching
staff adapted their offense to cater to the now-retired quarterback’s
scheme. It’s been widely reported how important it is for Manning to have
input in how the offense is run on his new team.

“I think he’s going to want to have a say in how they play the game so he
can come in and be successful quickly,” Warner said. “So knowing that I
came here and they adjusted things to me and allowed me to kind of shape
that offense, I think that’s a big selling point for the Arizona Cardinals.”

Even still, Warner doesn’t feel the Cardinals are the frontrunners to land
Manning. He believes the Miami Dolphins are actually a better fit for the
veteran quarterback.

“If I was to guess, I would say Miami just because of their willingness from
Day 1 to say we’ll do whatever it takes to get Peyton Manning,” Warner
stated. “They’ve got a new coach that’s coming in there that I am sure
would be willing to listen to Peyton Manning to help him design their
offense.”

Warner thinks the Cardinals would be flexible and accommodating to
Manning to an extent, but expressed how difficult it would be to re-teach
an offense to the other 52 guys who have worked under an established
system and have gotten comfortable running that scheme.

Another factor Warner feels is working against the Cardinals is their lack of
weapons outside of standout wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. While Mike Golic told Arizona Sports
620’s Burns and Gambo
that he believed Fitzgerald was the trump
card, Warner didn’t think that was enough to satisfy Manning.

“Yes, they have Larry Fitzgerald but what else do they have?” Warner asked
from Manning’s perspective. “Do they have the complimentary pieces where
I can go in and utilize all these pieces and that frees up Larry Fitzgerald to
be Larry Fitzgerald, and that’s the biggest question for me with the
Cardinals.”

Warner said being able to play with not only Larry Fitzgerald but Anquan
Boldin and Steve Breaston made the Cardinals attractive to him because the
complimentary pieces in the receiving core made it difficult for a defense to
double-team one target.

While Manning is known for taking average receivers and turning them into
stars, Warner feels at this stage in his career it’s all about winning right
now.

There has been a lot of talk about Manning asking teams to bring his
former Colt teammate Reggie Wayne along with him, but with Dallas Clark
and Joseph Addai also available, would the Cardinals be so bold as to try to
recreate an Indianapolis offense in the desert?

Even still, the odds may just be too much for the Cardinals to overcome if
Manning does indeed prefer to stay in the AFC.

Warner seems to think that would be Manning’s preference because the
path to the Super Bowl would be smoother coming from the AFC and it
would be easier to re-establish himself as a premier quarterback in that
league.

“But if they [the Dolphins or Jets] can get into the playoffs and you’re a guy
like Peyton Manning that can win games, it looks to be an easier road from
that quarterback standpoint in the AFC than it does in the NFC,” Warner
said.

Even though the Jets haven’t been mentioned as a finalist for Manning’s
services, Warner still believes they could be in the mix, if he decides he
wants more options in the AFC.

Regardless, the Cardinals will still have a chance to make their pitch to
Manning.

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