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Originally published March 16, 2012 at 8:54 PM | Page modified March 16, 2012 at 9:03 PM

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Manning's decision will undoubtedly impact Seahawks

The Seahawks are one of the many teams who are going to be impacted by not only where he lands, but where he doesn't.

Seattle Times NFL reporter

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The Seahawks' pursuit of Peyton Manning never really got off the ground.

That's not just a metaphor, either. Seattle had a plane in Denver when Manning was visiting the Broncos last week, but couldn't entice Manning to a meeting, according to ESPN.

And that rendered Seattle a spectator in the pursuit of Manning.

The Seahawks are one of the many teams who are going to be impacted by not only where he lands, but where he doesn't. That trickle-down effect that got even more complicated with Friday's news that the 49ers, surprisingly, are a candidate for Manning's services while the Miami Dolphins are not.

Start with the possibility of his arrival in San Francisco. First, Seattle would have to worry about the reigning division champion 49ers adding a historically prolific quarterback it must face twice a year. Then, there's the question of what that means for Alex Smith. He's the 49ers' incumbent quarterback whom the Seahawks saw as a very intriguing possibility just one year ago.

Manning's choice appears to be coming down to Tennessee, Denver or San Francisco, but it's not just the candidates for Manning's services that matter, though. A team he won't be suiting up for is suddenly scrambling. Miami is out of the running, and that impacts the Seahawks because the Dolphins suddenly become a potentially desperate suitor for Matt Flynn, the Green Bay backup Seattle hosted for a visit on Friday. Flynn is scheduled to head to Miami next, and he doesn't need to pack a crowbar to bring leverage with him on that visit.

You've heard of six degrees of separation? Well, this is like two degrees of Peyton Manning.

The 49ers' involvement was the wild card, which was played more than a week after Manning entered the marketplace.

It's not hard to understand why San Francisco wanted to keep things quiet. The 49ers already have a quarterback. At least everyone thought San Francisco had him because even though Smith is currently an unrestricted free agent, the 49ers had given no reason to think he wouldn't be back after leading the team to 13 regular-season wins and the NFC Championship Game last season.

ESPN's revelation that the 49ers have been playing footsie with Manning this week probably complicates matters. San Francisco met with Manning, and watched him work out, and even if Manning doesn't wind up in the Bay Area, you have to wonder how Smith is going to feel about all this.

And all this matters to Seattle how? Well, it's not certain that it does, but if you rewind a year ago, Smith was a player the Seahawks would have been very interested in had he hit the open market. Instead, the 49ers made it apparent they wanted to keep Smith before the lockout even got started, and Smith was a free agent only in the very technical sense of the word. He wasn't going anywhere.

The Seahawks are in the market for a quarterback, that much is clear. That could be a quarterback to supplant Tarvaris Jackson as the starter, as Manning clearly would have. It also could be someone to compete with Jackson for the starting job, which may be the scenario behind Seattle's interest in Flynn.

But Seattle's quarterback shopping isn't occurring in a vacuum. It's occurring alongside the most heated pursuit of any single NFL player since Reggie White in 1993.

The Seahawks never could get an official audition with Manning, and now they're watching like everyone else, because one way or another, this decision is bound to affect them.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or

On Twitter @dannyoneil

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About Danny O'Neil

Danny O'Neil will comment on issues, events and personalities in the NFL. His column will appear on Sundays during the regular season. He also posts most days on the Seahawks Blog. | 206-464-2364


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