The Indianapolis Colts have three Pro Bowl players — wide receiver Reggie Wayne, defensive end Robert Mathis and safety Antoine Bethea — who are skipping voluntary workouts this offseason. In the cases of Mathis and Bethea, their absences are related to their contracts: Mathis wants a new one, while Bethea, a restricted free agent who hasn’t signed his tender, doesn’t have one.
But is Wayne’s absence also related to his contract? Phillip B. Wilson of the Indianapolis Star speculates that it might be.
If Wayne does want a new contract, it seems awfully unlikely that he’d get one. His base salaries are $5.47 million in 2010 and $5.95 million in 2011, and the Colts would have to deal with 30 percent rule in renegotiating with Wayne.
And while Wayne was still at the top of his game in 2009, he’ll turn 32 during the 2010 season. The Colts aren’t likely to extend Wayne into his mid- to late-30s after seeing how quickly Marvin Harrison’s productivity dropped when he reached his mid- to late-30s.
Finally, there’s the matter of the Colts making clear that their top priority is doing a new deal for Peyton Manning. Knowing that they’re going to give Manning a new contract (maybe the biggest in NFL history), they’re not going to want to go on a spending spree on other players.
So if Wayne is unhappy with his contract, he’s likely to stay unhappy for a while.