Originally posted on Rumors and Rants  |  Last updated 3/16/12

The Tennessee Titans improved the interior of their offensive line on Thursday by signing seven-time All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson, but was there more motive to the move than upgrading the team’s line?

Well it just so happens that Hutchinson is friends with free agent quarterback Peyton Manning and the two men share an agent, Tom Condon. The Titans have come on strong in the chase for the four-time MVP and the fact that they are basically offering him a blank check and a post-retirement position within the franchise may actually be shifting things in their favor.

 

By most accounts Manning was leaning heavily towards heading to Denver after his meeting with the Broncos last week. But now Tennessee owner Bud Adams has been on the warpath trying to get Manning in the fold.

Hutchinson’s three-year, $16 million contract is a bit of a hefty hit for a  guy who has been declining over the past few seasons, but if it helps get Manning to pick Tennessee, it may well be worth it.

The 34-year-old guard instantly becomes Tennessee’s best interior lineman even with his age and drop-off, and he certainly represents an improvement over Jake Scott and Leroy Harris at guard. With three-time All-Pro Michael Roos already in place at left tackle, the Titans now have the makings of a solid, veteran offensive line to protect whoever their quarterback is next season (wink, wink).

Manning’s visit to the Titans on Wednesday has certainly sent momentum in their favor, but he still could land in Denver. Tennessee needs to keep up the pressure, because while his timeline for a decision has been continually pushed back, a resolution is expected within the next 72 hours.

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