On Thursday, a report emerged that the Chiefs have discussed the possibility of acquiring quarterback Peyton Manning twice with his agent, Tom Condon. If true, it would be a clear violation of the tampering rules.
On Friday, Chiefs G.M. Scott Pioli met with the media at the Scouting Combine in Indy, and he inevitably faced the question of whether the team is interested in Manning. According to the Associated Press, Pioli refused to say whether the Chiefs actually have interest in Manning.
Some may interpret this to imply that the Chiefs are interested in Manning. Since the tampering rules only prevent a team from stating interest in a player under contract with another team, a team arguably is free to say that it has no interest in a player under contract with another team. Thus, by refusing to say that the Chiefs aren’t interested in Manning, maybe they really are interested in Manning.
Others may interpret Pioli’s response to mean that he applies an ultra-cautious approach to the tampering rules, opting not to say anything at all about a player under contract with another team.
And while Pioli said that Matt Cassel is the team’s starting quarterback, Pioli explained that the Chiefs are talking to quarterback Kyle Orton about a possible return. Claimed on waivers after Orton was cut (at his request) by the Broncos, Orton’s contract expires as of 4:00 p.m. ET on March 13.
“We’ve talked with Kyle’s people. We’ve talked with Kyle,” Pioli said. “It sounds like Kyle would like to be with us. We told Kyle that we’d like to continue to work with him. Now it’s just a matter of seeing if things arrive at the right place. It’s not always about whether we want a player or the players want to be here.”
The problem is that, with Cassel the starter and being paid accordingly, the Chiefs will pay Orton only as a backup. If someone else wants to pay Orton as a starter, Orton will be gone.