Peyton Manning will be released by the Colts this week, and the organization that drafted him and won a Super Bowl with him and adorned the front of their stadium with a giant Manning poster is expected to announce the decision tomorrow. Which, of course, raises the question: Where will Manning play next?
One of the answers: Probably not San Francisco. General manager Trent Baalke, who was a guest on KNBR this morning, made it seem as if Manning was not a hot topic or even a lukewarm topic in the 49ers' front office. Co-host Larry Krueger asked Baalke if he thought Manning, who has had multiple neck surgeries and who missed the 2011 season, would play again. Baalke's response:
"We haven't had Peyton in here nor are we even talking about those things internally right now. ... Is he going to play? I don't know. That's for the doctors to make the decision on and for him himself."
Some other thoughts from Baalke, who was as careful as always not to reveal any of the team's strategy as it heads into free agency and then the draft.
On Alex Smith, who becomes a free agent March 13: "We're working very hard on it like we are with all our free agents. I said this all along and I hate to be a broken record, but Alex is an important part of it. Carlos (Rogers) is an important part of it. All of these guys that were here last year, that are out there, that are free agents, we're trying our best to put the best package that we can together to keep as many of them as we can."
On re-signing free agent Carlos Rogers: "We're going to try to keep as many as these guys together as we can (while) realizing that you're not going to be able to keep everybody because the salary cap doesn't allow it. But we're certainly going to make every effort we can to keep our group together."
On perhaps giving up a first-round pick to sign a restricted free agent (Mike Wallace): "We aren't going to rule anything out - trades, free agency, drafts, needs. We're always trying to improve the roster. And that's something we're committed to. So if there's a move we can make, whether it's picking guys up off the street, whether it's signing some free agents from other if it's signing some free agents from other teams, going after a restricted free agent, drafting ... nothing's off limits. We're willing to whatever it takes to make this team as strong as we can make it."
On Randy Moss, who reportedly had a strong workout today in New Orleans: "Everything's in play. I mean, we're going to take a look at all our options. ... We're not going to rule anybody out."
Two weeks ago at the scouting combine, Baalke admitted he hadn't yet watched the tape from the 49ers' overtime loss in the NFC Championship game and had no plan to. Today Krueger, whose radio booth is adjacent to the box where Baalke and other front-office officials sit, noted that Baalke didn't emerge from the box until well after the game. Said Baalke: "I don't know that there was actually a word uttered for probably 15 or 20 minutes. It was just silence."
-- Matt Barrows