So with all this talk about Peyton Manning supposedly being willing to take an incentive-based contract in recognition of the fact that his arm strength still hasn’t returned, an obvious question arises.
Would he do that for the Colts?
Owner Jim Irsay publicly has posed that very question today, according to Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star.
“We can make it work if he wants to be here,’’ Irsay said. “We’d be excited to have him back and finish his career with us.
“I want him to be able to make the choice. We would love to have him back here if he can get healthy and we can look at doing a contract that reflects the uncertainty of the . . . healing process with the regeneration of the nerve.’’
It doesn’t necessarily put Peyton in checkmate, but it definitely puts him in check. Now, he has to find a way around the reality that, if no other team is going to be willing to give him $28 million on March 8, why should the Colts?
Irsay’s comments also bring back into focus the reality that Manning could agree to bump back that $28 million bonus payment to a later date, if he so chooses. Though agent Tom Condon didn’t specifically say that Peyton wouldn’t delay the trigger in a Super Bowl-week appearance on NBC SportsTalk, he said the dates in the contract were picked for a reason.
It’ll now be even more interesting to see how this plays out. But with Irsay making it clear that he wants to keep Peyton with the franchise, Peyton faces the very real possibility of having to admit that, in the end, he simply wanted out of Indy.