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49ers jump into the Peyton Manning sweepstakes

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals

December 11, 2011; Glendale, AZ, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh (right) reacts as quarterback Alex Smith (11) walks to the sideline during the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the San Francisco 49ers have emerged as one of the three finalists to sign free agent quarterback Peyton Manning.

The other two teams are the Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans. According to Schefter, the Arizona Cardinals “have been advised that they are to proceed as if they will not get Peyton Manning.”

We already knew the Dolphins were out.

Schefter, who broke the 49ers news on SportsCenter early Friday afternoon, reported that San Francisco secretly sent club officials to watch Manning throw at Duke University on Tuesday night. The 49ers’ representatives were said to be “very impressed with what they saw.”

The Niners have already given Manning a physical.

And this explains why they haven’t re-signed free agent quarterback Alex Smith yet.