The Arizona Cardinals were seen as an early favorite to land Peyton Manning this offseason, though that not be the case depending on how they want to deal with Kevin Kolb.
Now the Cards have a new set of problems as ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting that Manning had a workout for Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers this week, effectively joining the race a little late. But late is always better than never, and couldn't come at a worse time for Arizona.
Filed to ESPN: Third team in Manning race that has emerged is 49ers - Manning worked out for Harbaugh & took physical this week #NFL32— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 16, 2012
This would clear up some of the confusion of Alex Smith's contract status as well, as the 49ers have seemingly put signing Smith on the shelf while quietly making a play on No. 18. From his other suitors in Tennessee and Denver, the 49ers would be leaps and bounds the most talented team he could join, and with all the cap space they've been opening up, the numbers could line up just right to land him.
As for the Cardinals, they have to figure out what to do with Kevin Kolb by this afternoon at 2 p.m. MT. Either pony up the $7 million bonus he's owed or cut him and try and make a play on Manning. The later is seeming much more unlikely.
For more on the possibility of Manning as a 49er, head over to Niners Nation to get in on the action.