49ers emerge as 'covert contender' for Peyton Manning

The Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins are out of the Peyton Manning sweepstakes.

But a third team has joined the hunt with the Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans.

Manning is being pursued by the San Francisco 49ers. According to Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News, the Niners have emerged as a “covert contender” to sign the free-agent quarterback, who is expected to work out for the Titans today.

Manning had a private workout Tuesday night in Durham, N.C., for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman, according to ESPN. San Francisco then sent doctors to put Manning through a physical.

The 49ers are not saying anything. Previously, they’ve said their plan is to re-sign quarterback Alex Smith, who helped guide the team to an NFC West title this past season. Some believe the 49ers could be the most attractive landing spot to Manning because the team is in the best position to win. The Broncos and Titans don’t offer rosters with as much talent as San Francisco. Plus, the Niners would offer a chance to play for a former quarterback in Harbaugh.

Stay tuned. Maybe Manning will make up his mind here soon.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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