When the Tennessee Titans entered the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, the impetus wasn’t from coach Mike Munchak or General Manager Ruston Webster. It was Titans owner Bud Adams who made clear that Munchak, Webster and the other football people who work for him had been instructed to go after Manning.
“He is the man I want. Period,” Adams told Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. “And the people that work for me understand that.”
Those comments from Adams came before free agency started, and they forced the Titans’ football people to shift their free agency focus, make Manning their top priority, and make sure there was enough salary cap space available to make Manning an offer competitive with the five-year, $95 million deal he’ll apparently get from the Broncos. And that’s why the Titans didn’t make a run at Mario Williams.
Until Adams declared that Manning was the team’s top priority, the Titans were believed to be among the favorites to land Williams. As Adam Schefter noted on ESPN today, there was a belief around the league that there was a good chance the Titans could land Williams, and that it was only after the Titans made Manning their top focus that the Bills were able to convince Williams to make his first free agency visit to Buffalo.
If the Titans had been players for Williams, maybe his first visit would have been to Tennessee, or maybe he would have left Buffalo without signing. But with the Titans unable to commit to a huge offer for Williams, the Bills were able to separate themselves as the team that was ready to give Williams the best offer.
In other words, if Williams turns out to be the dominant pass rusher the Bills hope he’ll be, Buffalo fans can thank Adams for going after Manning.