So what's next in the Manning story?

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
6:57
PM ET
Peyton ManningJason O. Watson/US PresswireThe biggest unknowns are whether Peyton Manning is healthy and where he'll play next season.
A quick look at the immediate questions that come to mind or will be popular now that we know there will be an official announcement by the Colts on Wednesday that they are releasing Peyton Manning.

How will it come down?

Sources tell ESPN that both owner Jim Irsay and Manning will be at a news conference Wednesday at the team's headquarters.

Should general manager Ryan Grigson or coach Chuck Pagano be part of the news conference?

Seems doubtful. They are saying goodbye to him, and it seems to make sense that the goodbye comes from Irsay and Irsay alone, since he's the only person at the top who worked with Manning. Though you can also say no matter how much this amounts to a fond and sentimental look back, it’s also the first event of the post-Manning Colts. And in that, a GM and coach must be involved.

What’s Manning’s health status?

We don’t know, but indications are he’s making progress with the one remaining issue: nerve regeneration that will give him back his arm strength. Grainy YouTube video surfaced recently that showed him throwing a couple passes at Duke. It’s awfully difficult for me to interpret that as anything significant.

When will we hear about suitors?

Teams should wait until the release is official. That doesn’t happen with the announcement. That happens when Manning’s name is on the league’s daily transaction wire. It would seem that would happen Wednesday. If it does, then at the close of business Wednesday, executives who have attempted to dance around the subject will be free to talk about the former Colt, who will be a free agent.

Who will those suitors be?

We’ve heard the same several teams listed: Miami, Washington, Arizona, the New York Jets, Kansas City. Others could surface now that Manning as a free agent will become a reality. Some will stay on the fringe, awaiting indication on his health.

What’s the timetable?

Manning’s camp has indicated he will be willing to sign an incentive-laden deal that will mean much of his pay is based on participation and performance. That means his new team will be somewhat protected if he’s not able to return to sufficient form.

It’s hard to imagine anyone would move forward, contract-wise, without seeing him throw. So this question is all about when he’s ready to throw for people.

Manning will be free ahead of players with expiring contracts. For them, free agency opens the afternoon of March 13.

Is Andrew Luck a lock?

If the Colts go another direction with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft on April 26, it will be a monumental surprise.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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