Last week, after Titans owner Bud Adams said that he wanted to give quarterback Peyton Manning a contract “for life,” we started to collect information about how that could happen. The league had no comment, and when we started to get information from someone who was willing to paint the picture on background, the first response from the source dealt with the rules regarding transferring minority ownership to Peyton.
It made me think the source knew something more than the rest of us did about the intended meaning of a contract “for life.”
On Friday, Brock Huard of ESPN Seattle speculated openly about the possibility that Peyton and Archie Manning had designs on putting together an Art-and-Dan-Rooney-style ownership package, with the Mannings holding the mandatory minimum of 30 percent and selling the other 70 percent to some big-money Tennessee interests.
On Monday, Dan Patrick advanced the same theory, in a very deft “I know more about this than I can say” way.
If that was indeed the objective, the problem is that the transaction couldn’t have happened without significant cap consequences. At most, an unenforceable handshake arrangement could have been devised, but if the 89-year-old Adams were to be flipping the bird from that great luxury suite in the sky before Peyton’s playing career ended, the whole thing would have likely fallen apart.
In the end, it’s unknown how much influence, if any, an impractical desire to eventually acquire controlling interest of the team had on Peyton’s decision. But if/when the time comes to sell the Titans at some point after Peyton’s career ends, don’t be surprised if he and Archie try to put together enough cash and debt to buy 30 percent, and to get the other 70 percent from one or more folks who were shooting up some food, and up from the ground came a bubbling crude.