The Panthers were second in touchdbacks in 2011. So that, um, Olindo Mare signing worked? (US Presswire)
I think we can safely conclude that Peyton Manning will not be playing for the Cardinals next season. Especially now that we have the report from ESPN that states Arizona will pay Kevin Kolb his $7 million bonus today.

[UPDATE: Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt releases statement saying that Manning is no longer an option.]

There was speculation that the Cardinals would cut Kolb before 4 p.m. ET Friday if Manning decided he wanted to accept a job there, but since the finalists for Manning's services seem to be the Broncos and Titans (and maybe San Francisco?) and since Arizona seems to have been eliminated, it makes sense that the Cardinals would keep Kolb around.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the Cardinals necessarily have to be happy about it.

That’s because John Skelton mostly outplayed Kolb last year, even though Kolb was the one who signed a six-year, $60 million contract before the 2011 season. And Kolb wasn’t exactly the franchise quarterback Arizona wanted.

Instead, he missed seven games due to injury, and when he did play, he completed only 57.7 percent of his passes and threw nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. Most importantly, the team went 3-6 when he started.

When Skelton played, the team went 5-2, and while Kolb seemingly has more talent than Skelton and should be the starter heading into 2012, that doesn’t mean Skelton is that far down on the depth chart.

But all things considered, assuming Arizona doesn’t land Manning, the free agency period has been a disappointment so far for the Cardinals.

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