Originally written March 19, 2012 on Thoughts from the Dark Side:
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Cradle of the quarterbacks?
Some unknown player named Peyton Manning agreed to join the Denver Broncos today, ending weeks of speculation where he would end up.  Peyton's arrival in the AFC West makes the division a sudden powerhouse in the arms race that is the NFL.  With Manning, Palmer and San Diego's Rivers three of the four AFC teams have QB's that were taken in the top 4 of their respective draft classes.  Kansas City is going in a diffrent direction with a stable of running backs and improving their offensive line so expect them to run more than their AFC West counterparts. Manning, if healthy, makes Denver the favorite to repeat their AFC West win.  However, Manning's health is not a given.  Even at less than full strength, Mannng is dangerous, however.  He is not only a great leader on the field, he also calls the plays at the line of scrimmage and is adept at reading defenses.  Raiders' head coach Dennis Allen is known for being a creative defensive mind and able to adapt quickly.  He'll need to up his game going against Manning twice a year. One bad offseason Manning is expected to basically serve as Denver's offensive coordinator.  He'll be bringing in his offense so that he doesn't have to take the time to learn a new one.  This is probably not good news for Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.  Imagine, a few short months ago after the Broncos season ended with an unlikely playoffs run, McCoy was sitting in the driver's seat.  He was being courted for two different head coaching positions - the Miami Dolphins and the Raiders.  He interviewed with the Dolphins and had an interview set up with the Raiders.  However, feeling that he was the favorite to land the Miami position he pulled himself out of contention with the Raiders, which reportedly angered GM Reggie McKenzie.  Of course, the Miami position went to former Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin. Now, instead of being a head coach McCoy will be taking a backseat to the Manning show. Another CB signed The Raiders signed another former starter today, coming to terms with former 49er Shawntae Spencer.  Spencer was a 2nd round pick in 2004 and was a starter at right corner back within 4 games, starting the remaining 12.  Overall, he's played in 98 games in his 8 year career and he's started 72. Spencer is 30 years old.  He's 6'1" and 190 lbs.  He has 11 career interceptions.  He has been very inconsistent over his career but has been able to flash very good cover skills.  He was released after hardly playing at all last year.  He came into training camp pencilled in as the starter but was injured early on and never was able to recover or even get onto the field, much. He signed a 1 year deal, financial terms were not disclosed.  According to beat writer Vittorio Tafur, the agent for Spencer was "tight-lipped" on the details of the contract.  That usually means that it's a team friendly contract because if it were friendly to the player, the agent would be proclaiming it to the world as a success story.  Spencer didn't have great options and it was believed he would sign at or near the veteran minimum. Spencer wore #36 in San Francisco.  That number is currently claimed by Lonyae Miller who is a practice squad RB.  It's likely that Spencer will be able to get the number from Miller if he chooses. A familiar face The Raiders resigned OL Cooper Carlisle today as well.  He had been cut last week in a move that was likely salary cap driven.  It's likely that he resigned for a much lower salary for this season. It seems likely that he has been brought in for options on the line.  He would be a great backup and an okay starter.  If the Raiders are unable to sign or draft further depth he can be reinserted in the RG position he's held since 2007 with newly signed G Mike Brisiel moving to LG and second year player Stefen Wisniewski playing Center. Alternately, if the Raiders pick up another C or G, Carlisle can be a backup which would provide good depth for the team. Odds and Ends Former Raiders SLB/DE Kamerion Wimbley visited with the Titans who have some room in the cap and have a need at LB.  It seems likely they will make a push for the veteran. Many fans were interested in signing C Scott Wells, the free agent from the Packers.  Perhaps it will mitigate the sting of missing him to know that he wanted to be paid as a top 5 center and got his wish.  He will be making an average of $6 million per year, putting him at the fourth highest paid center in the league. I tweet throughout the day about all things Raiders.  Follow me on Twitter @AsherMathews and ask me questions - or tell me what you think.
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