During the 2010 regular season, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning wasn’t interested in talking contract with the team. Manning declined, reportedly hoping to build the highest possible leverage.
Now that the season is over, the Colts and Manning finally have begun to talk turkey.
Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter of ESPN report that the two sides met last week. And they report that the Colts’ first offer exceeds the value of the four-year, $72 million contract given last year to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
(They cite “sources” in support of that specific aspect of the report. This is the kind of stuff that ordinarily is leaked by agents. In this case, there’s a good chance that Colts owner Jim Irsay put it on Twitter.)
Manning’s primary leverage comes from the fact that, if there’s a franchise tag in 2011, his one-year guaranteed pay would exceed $23 million. (And from the fact that, without him, they’re the Broncos.) It’s therefore in the team’s interests to come up with a contract that would entail a lower cap number for the next season.
Per the report, the team is also making it clear that it’s in Manning’s interests to not take every last cent he can get. That’s what he did in 2004. He has only one Super Bowl ring to show for it, possibly due to the fact that, while the Colts have found a way to pay other first-string stars, they have not been able to provide him with the kind of depth that ensures sustained success.
Meanwhile, the situation further proves that the periodic noise from some teams about not being able to pay players until a new CBA is done is just that — noise. Teams that truly want to pay a player before the new rules are in place can do so.
We’ve got one more theory on this one that we’ll defer to the first segment of today’s PFT Live. Not because I’m trying to drive traffic to the show. Because I’m too lazy to type it out right now.