Colts owner Jim Irsay said before tonight’s home finale in Indianapolis that he’s willing to spend whatever is necessary on quarterback Peyton Manning, as long as Manning is healthy enough to play in 2012.
In an interview with Rich Eisen on NFL Network, Irsay indicated that if Manning’s neck heals sufficiently that he’s capable of playing football at all in 2012, he will be playing for the Colts.
“I paid him $26 million this year and he didn’t play — I knew it was an iffy situation going in,” Irsay said. “If he’s healthy and if he’s ready to play, I see him back with us.”
That’s an awfully big “if.” We don’t know if Manning’s neck will let him play in 2012. And it’s also possible that Irsay will have a change of heart before he has to pay Manning a $28 million option bonus in early March. That’s a lot of money to pay a player coming off an injury that kept him off the field for an entire season.
But at the moment, Irsay is saying that he still hopes to be signing paychecks with Manning’s name on them next year. And he says drafting Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is a decision the Colts will make separately from the determination of whether Manning can play.
“The draft will be what the draft is — there’s a lot of situations that can unfold from here,” Irsay said. “If there’s a great young quarterback there, we wouldn’t hesitate to take him.”