As news spread Tuesday that the Indianapolis Colts were expected to release Peyton Manning, the excitement in New York was palpable, with one unnamed Jets player telling the New York Daily News: "I want him in New York. He needs to be a Jet."
Others in the organization were tempering their interest with concern about Manning's four neck surgeries, his willingness to play in the same town as his brother Eli, the salary cap and the team's own soap-opera season in 2011.
"Why would Peyton Manning want to come to the circus?" one team source told the Daily News.
"If there's any question mark about his health," a source said, "forget about it."
One source did provide the logical counterpoint as to why the Jets could make a run at Manning saying, "I think any team in the league without an elite quarterback has to be interested in a healthy Peyton Manning."
The Colts will announce at noon ET Wednesday (live on NFL Network) that they will cut the four-time NFL MVP. NFL Network's Albert Breer reported that Irsay and Manning traveled from Florida to Indianapolis for the announcement.
"We're gonna do this the right way," Manning said Tuesday night, according to WISH-TV in Indianapolis. "We'll talk to you guys tomorrow."
Tom Moore, Manning's longtime offensive coordinator in Indianapolis, was on hand to watch Manning throwing footballs at Duke University last week, ESPN reported. Moore was an offensive consultant for the Jets in 2011, but no longer has an official affiliation with the team, so he was free to attend the workouts.
Upon Manning's official release, he will become one of the most coveted free agents in NFL history, even though he'll be 36 next season and missed all of 2011 with the neck issues. But teams such as the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals will have more room under the salary cap (even though left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson recently restructured his contract), so all the fuss might be a moot point.
"Based on what we feel that we can offer," a Jets source said, "I have a feeling that we're a long shot."