With Manning Broncos-Bound, A Trade For Tebow?

David Greene talks with Cecil Lammey, an NFL Insider for ESPN Denver, on reports that star quarterback Peyton Manning is headed to the Broncos.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Seems like it was just yesterday when the NFL playoffs were going on, and Tebowmania seemed like a permanent way of life in the city of Denver. Well, Denver, meet Peyton Manning. This past week, the former star quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts traveled the country in search of a new team and yesterday, he decided on Denver. And now there's talk that Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow will be traded. And joining us to talk about all of this is Cecil Lammey. He writes about the NFL for ESPN Denver.

Cecil, welcome.

CECIL LAMMEY: How's it going today?

GREENE: Oh, it's going well. So can - I mean, anytime we're talking football, it's going well. Can we officially declare Manningmania in the Rockies? I mean, is this official?

LAMMEY: Yeah. It's Peyton's place here in the Mile High stadium, with all apologies to the NCAA men's tournament. Forget Sweet Sixteen. We've got Sweet Eighteen here in Denver. And I've got to tell you: About 95 percent of Broncos fans are over the moon about this.

GREENE: Well, I mean, Manning had several teams to choose from. He was kind of hopscotching around doing a tour. I mean, why is Denver the spot? Why is this a good match?

LAMMEY: He picked Denver because of John Elway. John Elway, a Hall of Fame quarterback himself, of course, all the respect in the world from Peyton Manning for John Elway.

And the fact that the Broncos - unlike, maybe, the 49ers - would give him complete control of the offense and basically, give him carte blanche and let him run the system like he wants to run the system. And add in the type of players - whether it's Dallas Clark or Jeff Saturday - but add in the former teammates of Peyton from Indianapolis that he would need to compete and contend for a Super Bowl.

GREENE: Well, what did you see from Elway through this whole process? I mean, wasn't Elway kind of chummy with Tebow back during the playoffs, and encouraging him?

LAMMEY: Yeah, definitely. And here's the thing - a lot of people will say oh, John Elway doesn't like Tebow. But none of that is true, OK? And even Elway commented at the scouting combine - in February, in Indianapolis - that he wanted Tebow to develop, and continue to become a better passer.

Just now in this championship window - a window that was opened, by the way, by Tebow last season, when they made that run into the post season. In a championship window, you must win Super Bowls from the pocket. It's the oldest mantra in the NFL. And he knew, at this time, Tebow wasn't ready.

GREENE: OK. So if Manning goes to Denver, if Tebow is traded, where does he go? Have teams shown some interest?

LAMMEY: Yeah. There's a little bit of interest, not a whole lot of interest. And I actually think it could work if Tebow stayed in Denver. Tebow is a great person. He's not going to complain about it. Probably not going to demand a trade. If he is getting moved, New England, where he could be reunited with Josh McDaniels; Jacksonville, which is his hometown, a lot of people throw that out there; and the Miami Dolphins - owner Stephen Ross has missed on every quarterback that he's wanted to add. Maybe if he offered the right trade to the Broncos, he could get Tim Tebow.

GREENE: Well, Cecil Lammey, Denver had a great ground game last year. I mean, now they bring in a great quarterback like this. We've already seen the odds, on whether they'll win the Super Bowl, get much better after this Manning announcement. I mean, isn't Denver taking a risk, though, given Manning's health?

LAMMEY: This is a huge risk because we don't know if Peyton Manning is healthy. And we won't know until he takes his first hit. You know, how is he going to react? Sure, working out for 15 minutes; and throwing for the Broncos and these other teams, showing a video - that was edited - to these teams, when he was throwing at Duke; you know, this doesn't show if he can truly take a hit, get back up, and still be the same Peyton Manning.

So it is a huge risk and another reason why it points - to me, why keeping Tebow would make some sense. Because in the NFL, you need two good quarterbacks.

GREENE: All right. Well, enjoy the Sweet Eighteen and Manningmania out in Denver.

Cecil Lammey is an NFL insider for ESPN Denver. Cecil, thanks for joining us.

LAMMEY: I appreciate it.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: This is NPR News.

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