Sam Bradford's deal will hike Colts' pay to Peyton Manning

July 19, 2010
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All the talk about reducing the rookie pay scale in the National Football League is somewhat laughable. It will never happen. There are too many NFL power brokers who don’t want it, and in the end, the players’ union will convince players it’s in their best interest to keep that scale skyward.

Sure, there are a number of veterans who cry foul that unproven rookies are earning so much more than established players.

After all, the St. Louis Rams are preparing to sign quarterback Sam Bradford to a rookie record contract with $50 million in guaranteed money. Bradford’s contract is expected to be substantially higher than last year’s No. 1 pick, Matthew Stafford, who the Detroit Lions signed to a six-year $41.7 million deal.

But don’t expect NFL players’ agent Tom Condon to shed any tears. Sure there’s some injustice in all this. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is set to make $3.5 million this year. I expect he’s going to get a new contract before training camp kicks off in a few weeks. But you never know with Pats owner Bob Kraft.

While Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is working off a $98 million, seven-year deal signed in 2004, it’s no secret he’s not happy with his contract and wants a new one.

Since Condon is Manning’s agent, you’d think Condon would be the first to squawk about his players’ comparative value to these raw rookies. Except one thing. All this madness is good business for Condon, who, the last time I checked, works off of commission. Oh, and did I forget to mention, Condon also is Bradford’s agent.

Condon will quickly tell you teams must pay for potential. Only after Condon squeezes the Rams with the pay-for-potential ploy, will he play the comparative value card with the Colts.

Condon has no intention of finalizing a deal for Manning until Bradford’s contract is ironed out in the next couple weeks. After that’s done, he’ll use it as a hammer to pound a few million bucks out of Colts’ owner Jim Irsay—who already happily admitted he aims to make Manning the highest paid player in the NFL.

I don’t fault Manning for getting all he can. In fact, I would to some degree applaud his willingness to show up for every Colts’ off-season workout function—mandatory or not—despite being in the midst of contract negotiations.

This contrasts the actions of receiver Reggie Wayne and defender Robert Mathis, who are skipping Colts off-season preparation functions despite the fact that they’re both legally bound by contracts to be there.

Wayne has two years left on his six-year $39 million deal, with $5.47 million due this year and $5.95 million next year. Mathis is working off a six-year $30 million deal signed in 2006. But since that deal was so heavily front loaded, he’s not due much this year, and wants more.

It’s difficult to say what will happen with Wayne and Mathis. With a nasty negotiations between team owners and the players’ union looming over the league’s larger pay structure and salary cap, it’s a tough time for any player to get a lot more money.

After all, Wayne and Mathis are good. But they’re no Sam Bradford.

  • What?
    When did Peyton say he wasn't happy with his deal? Never as far as I've heard. His deal is up after the season and the natural progression is to negotiate a new one now rather than after the season. Same with Brady. Plus, this is an uncapped season and there would be advantages for the Colts to get him extended this year so his earnings/bonus can be front loaded for 2010 in case that a salary cap is re-implemented in 2011 and beyond.
    • Manning wants more
      It's pretty well known to those who follow the NFL and the Colts closely that Manning, and more to the point, Condon, want more security and money than Manning is assured now. You can call it being unhappy or just wanting more ... it's really a matter of semantics. But make no mistake, Manning and his agent expect the Colts to pay up before the regular season starts.
    • Huh?
      Apparently Peyton being unhappy with his contract is a secret to me. Haven't heard anyone (except you) mention that.

      As for $$$, both Manning & Brady should be making a LOT more than any unproven rookie.
    • Agent not Manning
      Usually when you here that the player is unhappy with a deal, that ends up meaning that the agent is no longer happy with the deal that he originally negotiated. I think when you hear players grumbling about their deal, I think that is something that the agent puts into their head.
    • What would Polian do?
      Would Polian sign $50 million guaranteed deals with unproven rookies like Bradford and Stafford? These are crazy deals, NBA-type deals that may keep these teams bottom-feeders for years to come.
    • Making up stuff
      Anthony - When you say it's no secret he is not happy with his contract, please tell us where you have heard this from. You must have tons of sources that can confirm he is upset about it. Funny this is the first I have ever heard of him not being happy with his contract. Typically I thought he said things like his agent will handle that, etc... I think you just pulled that statement out of your backside.
    • unhappy
      Let's see ... Manning's agent is seeking a new deal. The last time I checked, you don't seek a new deal if you're happy with your current deal. Seems like a no brainer to me. He's not happy with the deal, and that's ok. It's a business for the people who actually play the game. If there's something you should choose not to believe it's this ... Manning when he says he'd play for nothing. Now that's a flat lie.
    • unhappy
      Manning's contract is up at the end of the 2010 year. Normally you try to get a new deal done BEFORE the end of the current contract. That does not mean that he is unhappy. I could not imagine him playing for nothing, but being a Colts fan, I would love to see that happen.
    • What? Not Exactly
      No, it wont. Manning's deal was already going to be large, somewhere in the 20 million range. Bradford's deal has nothing to do with Peyton's and possibly just the exact opposite is true. Manning's previous deals and the expected deal-to-be probably raised the stakes on Bradford's. Matt Ryan's deal probably has far more impact on Bradford's than Manning's.

      Peyton has NOT expressed any ill-will towards his deal. It is upwards of 15 Million and he is one of the Top 10 Paid Athletes in the country currently with an increase on the horizon, plus part of the lucrative 15-15 Club (15 mil in both Salary and Endorsements.) I would also like to know how you came to the conclusion that "it's no secret that he's not happy with his deal?". Brady maybe, but not Manning.

      Why do I read this blog again?!?
    • Agree
      What that guy said.

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