Colts' Irsay sparks war of words with Pats' Kraft

March 23, 2010
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Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has sparked a war of words of sorts with an old nemesis.

The war could dramatically escalate the salaries of two very high-profile quarterbacks. And could cost Irsay and another high-profile owner millions of dollars in the long-term.

Irsay’s statement in February that he intended to sign quarterback Peyton Manning to a record contract likely raised the eyebrows of Tom Brady’s agent Steve Dubin and furrowed the brow of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

“You know it's going to get done,” Irsay said during Super Bowl week. “I think it’s clear, and we’ll start on it this summer. That’s been the way we do things [to work out an extension when a player is entering the final year of his contract]. And it’ll be the biggest [contract] in history; there’s not much doubt about that.”

Hmm. I’m sure there’s a doubt about that in Dubin’s mind.

Irsay and Kraft have this in common; they both have rock star quarterbacks with expiring contracts after the 2010 season. Manning and Brady have this in common; They both want big money. Pay no mind to the fact the Manning said he’d would play for nothing during an interview this season. That’s not really true.

Dubin and Tom Condon, Manning’s agent, are paying very close attention to the situation with their own and each others’ clients. Rest assured, Condon wants to get more for Manning than Dubin gets for Brady, and vice versa. Not only are they paid a commission on their client’s salary, having the highest paid QB in the NFL is a mighty powerful calling card when it comes to signing new clients.

They both expect to get their clients bigger pay days than New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning—the reigning highest paid NFL player.

Eli Manning, also a Condon client, signed a six-year extension last August that raised his average annual salary to $16.25 million, the highest for a multiyear deal.

Peyton Manning had the highest salary-cap figure ($21,205,718) in 2009 but was sixth among quarterbacks with a $14 million average. Irsay told reporters this week that talks with Manning and his agent will heat up following next month’s draft.

Poor old Brady is working off of a six-year, $60 million contract. That $10 million annual average salary now looks like chump change to the QB with GQ looks. And Dubin is eager to prove the he—and his client—are nobody’s chumps.

Kraft said this week that preliminary talks with Brady are already underway and will soon intensify.

I expect Brady and Manning to engage in an interesting game of chicken. Both will want to wait until the other signs to make sure they are not left behind economically.

Irsay and Kraft, on the other hand, will be eager to get the deals done so they can get on to other matters—not the least of which is signing draft picks and free agents.

It’s true, there is no true off-season. Six heavy-hitters and some awfully big egos are stepping into this intriguing negotiations ring.

Haymakers are about to start flying. Rainmakers are prepared to make it pour.

In the end, one thing is certain. Somebody is going to pay.

Truth be told, Irsay and Kraft will both pay—and pay big.

The only remaining question; Who will pay bigger?

  • If Kraft pays more for Brady then Irsay does for Manning, then he is the chump. It is clear Brady's career is sunsetting. Not sure if it was the injury, jet setting and cheating with the supermodels or just old age, but he no longer has it. Do not get me wrong, he still can play, but he is not the Brady of old. Kraft will give him ego money and the Pats will have to live with it for years. Got to love it.
  • Brady fading?
    I wouldn't disagree that Manning deserves more $$$ than Brady, but I'm not sure I'd go along with the notion that Brady's star is fading just yet. He's only 32 years old, and needs to be given next year to prove if he can come all the way back from his knee injury. Bolster the O-line a bit and TB could be back among the NFL elite QBs.
  • Kraft wins!
    Krafts should win already with the citizen's of Indianapolis....considering he paid for the New Englanders entire stadium whereas Irsay is selfish and paid pennies compared to what he could have to help a city that is now in tremendous out! Kraft over Irsay anyday!
    • Manning & Brady
    • It is amazing how misinformed people can still be. kraft should not be lionized by the people of Mass, he should be disliked. People think since he built most of the stadium without government funds. The State paid $70 million towards improvements around the stadium.

      What kraft did is he kept the stadium out of Boston where it could have brought much needed taxes, and development. Original plans called for the stadium to return to Boston as part of a redevelopment project. kraft wanted to keep it in the boonies. this would be like Irsay moving the Colts to Shelbyville and the new stadium with it.

      There goes the big convention, there goes the big football games, there goes the NCAA final fours, regional games etc....

      on the surface what kraft did sounds like a good deal, but he really hurt boston to keep the money for himself.
    • Tom Brady Fan
      first of all manning does not deserve a bigger contract than bardy. regardelss of anything Brady has three rings and Peyton has one. Peyton and his brother dont have as many rings as Tommy boy. He is the golden boy and he will get at least 2 more superbowls. Beleive It!!!!!!
      • That is a popular misconception. The number of Superbowl rings has more to do with the quality of a team, rather than the quality of a player. Many a good QB has gone a career without a ring, not because they were bad, but because their team was not good enough.

        The true measure of how good an individual player is would be the records he holds and the MVP's won. In that case Manning would deserve the higher pay.

        Second, buying your arguement, I will use a favorite investment term. Past performance does not guarantee future performance. The fact that Brady has 3 rings, does not mean he deserves a higher contract going forward. If he truly has lost a step or two, then he should get paid based on that.

        Kraft is in a really ticklish position.
        • 9-9 record in playoffs
          MVPs are for regular season wonders.. If you are 9-9 in the playoffs, where it matters.. thats pretty mediocre.
          • Going to the playoffs enough to be 9-9 shows you are much better than mediocre. So you are saying Marino, Fouts and Kelly are mediocre? What about Favre with only one Superbowl? Superbowl=best team. MVP=best player.
          • MVP
            mvp is pretty overrated, manning did not deserved waht about chris johnson or brees who had better number thsan manning, to that fact what about marvinf when he had 147 reception he should have been the mvp.
          • Work on your typing/spelling and then we will work on teaching you how to make coherrent sentences.
          • Well, well...
            On another note... looks like some of those season ticket holders may be falling off. Just got a text from the Colts, that includes a link to this announcement:

            "Season Ticket Renewals
            By Colts Tickets

            Colts Season Ticket Holders were required to renew their season tickets by Tuesday, March 30th. If you are a Season Ticket Holder and you have yet to submit your payment, you can still go online and pay through your Colts Ticket Account (Payments will only be accepted for a limited time).

            Click here and use your ID# and password to log in (this information can be found on your invoice). The Colts Ticket Office plans to proceed with seat relocation and addition processes very soon.

            Thank you again for your loyal support as we anticipate another great season in 2010! Go Colts!"

            Sounds to me like they're scrambling now... sending out a mass announcement 2 days after the due date. Obviously they didn't get the number of people they wanted to renew. Better start working that "long waiting list".

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