Originally posted on BroncoTalk  |  Last updated 3/2/12

Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams (90) sacks Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler during the third quarter of a football game Thursday, Dec. 13, 2007 in Houston. The Texans beat the Broncos 31-13. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Denver Broncos will discuss signing potential free agents Peyton Manning and pass rush specialist Mario Williams, according to multiple sources.

If Manning is still on the Colts’ roster on March 8th, the team will owe him $28 million, which they are not willing to do.  With Indianapolis prepared to selected Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck first overall in the draft, the team is expected to release Manning within a week from today.

When Manning becomes a free agent, John Elway, the Broncos Vice President of Football Operations, and the rest of Denver’s front office will considering pursing him, according to a source close to the team.  The team is unlikely to actually sign Manning, but they do have interest in the veteran quarterback.

Denver is also interested in Houston Texans defensive end/outside linebacker Mario Williams, as was confirmed by ESPN‘s Mark Clayton earlier in the week.  Williams missed most of last season due to injury and is expected to test the free agent market this month.

In February, Elway noted that the Broncos will spend more than their $23 million salary cap this off-season.  The team has $27 million in last’s cap space that has rolled over into 2012, giving the team $50 million in cap space this year.

Williams, a 6’6, 283-pound former first overall draft selection, has recorded 53.0 sacks since his 2006 rookie season.  Williams’ six year, $54 million contract expires on March 13th and he will be looking for a team that will pay big for his services in 2012.

The Broncos, with big money available to spend, already have two of the top pass rushers in the game in defensive end Elvis Dumervil and outside linebacker Von Miller, but that one stop them from considering creating one of the best pass rushing trios in NFL history.  Dumervil, Miller and Williams are all versatile enough to play linebacker or defensive end, and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio could create a scheme which would creatively involve all three players.

Another option for the Broncos would be to trade Dumervil, but the team is not expected to do so.  Last season, Dumervil, Miller and Williams combined for 26 sacks, despite missing eighteen combined games due to respective injuries.

Stay tuned as we continue to cover these developing free agency stories.


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