As the football-following world processes the news that Colts quarterback Peyton Manning will miss considerable time after undergoing spinal surgery on Thursday, only one thing is clear.
Peyton Manning will get paid a ton of money, even if he doesn’t take a single snap this year.
Per a league source, that new five-year, $90 million contract was given to Manning without the quarterback having to pass a physical. In other words, he got $20 million to sign, and the Colts didn’t insist on obtaining medical clearance that he can play before giving it to him. (He eventually passed a physical before being cleared to practice last week — before suffering the setback that caused the latest procedure.)
With the Colts choosing to keep Manning on the active roster, he’ll also pocket his $3.4 million base salary for the new season, along with a $3 million roster bonus tied to Manning being on the 53-man roster for any one game in 2011.
The next question, if Manning can’t play in 2011, becomes whether the Colts would pay him a $28 million option bonus, which is due early in the next league year. The Colts can avoid the payment only by cutting or trading Manning, and it would be shocking — actually, beyond shocking — if the team would sever ties with one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
So why did the Colts sign Manning to this deal in the first place? Peter King of NBC and Sports Illustrated explained during the debut of NBC SportsTalk that the Colts had no concerns about the most recent surgery at the time it was conducted in May 2011, and that team Vice Chairman Bill Polian said on the day of the prior procedure that it would not impact the contract talks.
If the Colts knew then what they know now, it’s hard not to believe that they would have at most kept Manning under the franchise tag in 2011, waiting until 2012 to sign him to a long-term contract.
Here’s Peter talking about the Manning surgery, rehab, and contract.