As if the NFL rumor mill needed more grist for the Peyton-Manning-to-San-Francisco mill, late Saturday night the 49ers swooped in and signed Mario Manningham, upgrading a receiving corps that had already absorbed Randy Moss earlier this month. Combined with Vernon Davis and the enigmatic likes of Michael Crabtree, the 49ers' free-agent acquisitions give whoever will line up under center an impressive collection of targets—and a major improvement on 2011, when only Crabtree and Davis caught more than 20 passes. Alex Smith would probably be really excited right now, if he were sure he wasn't about to get Jimmy Clausen'd a year after throwing 17 touchdowns and five interceptions with a Y/A over seven. (Presently he's looking to change agents.)
Right now it's hard to tell just how much of the 49es' apparent front-runner role is novelty—they've simply been rumored less, which is sometimes enough for the news cycle to misinterpret interest as capital-I Interest. But if Manning does go to the 49ers, he'll won't be wanting for firepower. And the St. Louis Rams, who already have to deal with having lost Manningham, will be a little less happy with the offseason than they were a few days ago.
More Peyton Manning prognostication from the concerned NFC West citizens at SB Nation St. Louis:
- The Arizona Cardinals bowed out of the Manning sweepstakes just in time for the 49ers to get in.
- And the 49ers grabbed Mario Manningham just as the Rams were looking like a sure thing.