Somehow we’ve gone five days without a Peyton Manning post, which feels like at least three weeks in Manning time. Yes, Manning time is a real thing now. We’re functioning solely by Manning’s clock as we walk into the abyss that is the 2012 offseason.

And that clock isn’t exactly moving quickly.

Bob Kravitz is a prominent, well-connected reporter from the Indianapolis Star who’s followed Manning throughout his career in Indy. Kravitz spoke to Tony Kornheiser on his ESPN radio show Tuesday, and he said that he knows some of the people who’ve seen Manning throw, and those people haven’t relayed glowing reports.

Via Pro Football Talk:

“I know some of the people that have seen him throw. They say he’s not throwing like an NFL quarterback yet. That doesn’t mean he never will.  This thing is going to take time. Structurally, he’s sound. Structurally, he can take a hit.”

Kravtiz also dropped the dreaded “noodle arm” label, meaning that at this point the velocity of the ball when it’s released from Manning’s arm is on par with the velocity it would have if it was possible for a cooked spaghetti noodle to throw a football. Sadly, that noodle would still complete more passes than Tim Tebow.

When a quarterback is given that title, there are usually gasps in the room, followed by the sound of scouts and/or general managers erasing the QB’s name from a sheet of either potential draft picks or free agents. But this isn’t just your average mid-tier free agent or draft prospect. This is Peyton Manning, and although he’s ready to absorb physical contact and would be in no long-term health danger if Ray Lewis came unblocked and creamed him, his recovery process is still a delicate one.

Actually, it’s beyond delicate. Far beyond. Manning and his agent or father can keeping slipping lines to the mainstream media, but we have no idea if Manning’s arm will ever return to its MVP form.

Yet even as we sit right now in early February and we can’t confidently say what kind of arm Manning will have in August or September, columns begging owners to do everything in their power to secure this franchise-saving veteran are being written by respected columnists. And when the Cardinals hire a new wide receivers coach, a noted insider is sure to tack on the convenient fact that the hire is also Manning’s former QB coach.

There are plenty of hints, nods, and nudges of both the gentle and not-so-gentle variety, and the glimmer of this likely free agent prize could far exceed the gains.