Could Manning have ulterior motive for delaying contract talks?

November 2, 2010
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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and his agent Tom Condon have made it clear that Manning will not be discussing a new contract with team owner Jim Irsay or Colts President Bill Polian until after the season.

Condon told Irsay last week that Manning wants to focus his energy on the current season. That tact is commendable. It’s what we’ve come to expect from Manning.

But there might be an ulterior motive. If you know anything about Manning, you know he’s a calculating guy. The same certainly can be said for Condon, one of the most powerful agents in the game.

Maybe there’s nothing besides the obvious going on. After all, Irsay already has promised—many times and quite publicly—to make Manning the highest-paid player in the National Football League. That should net Manning in the range of $20 million annually with at least $50 million guaranteed.

Still, it seems a bit strange that Manning turned down Irsay’s offer to negotiate a new contract during last month’s bye week. Irsay seemed eager to negotiate a new deal, and confident something could get done.

Manning would appear to have every reason to want to sign an extension. Sure, he’s an iron man who’s seldom injured. Still, this is a violent sport and Manning is one play away from being knocked out of commission with no contract for next year.

So why else would Manning opt not to negotiate a deal? Well, if he continues to play at his current super-human level, his value could actually go up. And since the collective-bargaining agreement between players and owners is set to expire in March, there could be no franchise tag mechanism to keep the QB from becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Now that’s a nice piece of leverage for one of the greatest signal callers to ever play the game.

What else could Manning want besides guaranteed bushels of money? Well, more bushels of course. But maybe there’s something else.

Maybe he wants guarantees after his playing career is over. Maybe a piece of ownership. Who knows?

One thing is certain: For the Colts’ owner, this is about more than retaining Manning. This is about Irsay’s legacy. This is about the ghost of John Elway’s trade to Denver. This is about the new-era Colts that Irsay built after the death of his father.

These negotiations have untold pressures and unparalleled leverage. Despite that, maybe they go as smooth as silk. With Manning, that’s what you’d expect.

But Irsay’s repeated proclamations that he will make Manning the league’s highest-paid player are starting to make him look a little nervous—kind of like a nervous mayor being asked for a new stadium.

After all, no mayor wants to lose a team on his watch. And Irsay can’t afford to lose the franchise, either.

  • Peyton 1 Irsay 0
    Peyton gone any way other than injury or retirement the stadium goes dark and very empty.
  • Peyton as part-owner!
    Peyton as Colts' part-owner, now that would be cool. Larry Bird had a small part of the Pacers' ownership when he was coach, so why not Peyton. Or maybe they transition him into the front office when his playing days are done. Now that he's 34, he's got to be thinking about life after football.
  • Peyton set for life
    Is Peyton is holding out for MORE $$$ I don't think so, it must be something that will happen with the colletive barraging and new changes that will come in this years off season that has him scarried to sign right now.
  • Dumb
    This guy is a terrible writer. None of these possibilities are based on fact. Here's a possible reason: he is thinking about making a switch to playing baseball. That has about as much credibility as throwing out the idea that #18 is holding out because he wants partial ownership of the team.
    • Nick is right
      I could not agree more with Nick's first sentence.
    • Nick is an idiot!
      The Colts/Indy would be nothing w/o that cry baby Peyton! Once he's gone, this town is washed up.
    • partial ownership?

      The only time that can occur is after he retires/quits. Active players in most sports cannot own any part of a pro team.

      What's going to be interesting is Irsay's claim that Peyton will be the highest paid player.

      Will there be something in place to ensure he'll be the highest paid as long as he plays?

      Suppose he takes $20M/year. If someone gets more, will his contract automagically [sic] give him more to keep him the highest paid player?

      If not, then Irsay is basically saying, at the time he signs the contract, he'll be the highest paid player.

      It will get interesting.

      Starting the Summer of '09, the Colts stated they had a three year plan. It's obvious:

      '09 - '10
      '10 - '11
      '11 -' 12 Indy Superbowl

      They want the Colts at home for the Superbowl.

      As it stands, Peyton will be with us less than he's already been with us.

      (Quote from Bob Greene about MJ with more than half of his career behind him)

      The big question is: how many more SuperBowls can the Colts muster on Peyton's watch? Other great quarterbacks have never won one, but to think someone of Peyton's caliber to finish a career with just one SB? That's sad.

      OTOH, look at what he did last night. It was evident he'd spent plenty of time with this offensive people because whilst they might not have played as well as the "A+" team, they played better than a lot of teams whose records show just how badly they suck.

      He's not going to stay around to be as old as Favre.

      There were stories out of Chicago that when his final season was about to start that they'd pay him $100M for the year. Just the regular season would mean being paid $1.4M/game

      What will happen for Peyton as a show of thanks? And: will there be a transition of his final season (or the season after) where he can mentor the next generation?
    • Never short on...
      Anthony has never been short on conspiracy theories.........
    • I love a conspiracy theory!
      Who doesn't love a good conspiracy theory. Besides, some of it sounds pretty plausible to me. The end of the collective bargaining agreement and the franchise tag is the big unknown that every NFL owner fears right now. The owners have the upper hand in a lot of respects in this labor battle, but this is one element that scares them, and it's good to see Manning flexing some muscle on behalf of the players. Who knows, maybe he becomes a central figure in bringing this labor strife situation to a peaceful end. Why not? He's done just about everything else.
    • player as owner
      There's nothing in the NFL bylaws that says an active player can't have an ownership stake in the team. So if Jim Irsay wants to suit up this Sunday he can. But more than likely, if PM wants part-ownership, he would construct it that one of his incentives would be converted to team stock after he exits the field for the final time.
    • more money?
      or maybe he is not holding out for more money at all?... maybe he is waiting to see how the CBA is going to go..and maybe take less money so that the team can afford to keep some other key players such as addai?
    • Cheerleaders?
      Is Peyton holding out for even more cheerleaders and year round options on Angela Buchman? Well, not to say he doesn't already have plenty of both but Peyton always wants more...on and off the field!
    • CHEAP
      Word on the street is that Peyton (along with Eli and Archie) is very cheap. He wants every last cent from Irsay and will hurt his team to get more money. Tom Brady is not like that and thats why he has more rings.
    • Article is right on
      Ah, a writer who has done his homework and thought about what he was writing. This article is right on target. Manning, will be in Indianapolis, but he's in control and Mr. Irsay is at his beckon call. That's the price of having the best Quarterback in history. With him, we have a chance for another Super Bowl ring. Without him, we are a very average football team struggling to get to the playoffs.
    • Maybe he wants to play for a real team
      Maybe he's tired of playing Arena Football in front of fickle fans. Maybe he wants to play real football on real grass in front of real fans; not these Johhny-come-latelys that will all disappear once the team is less than great again. A team with tradition.
      Chicago? Kansas City? Cleveland?
    • D I V O R C E
      Your answer lies with Bill Parcells. Why did BP come back to Dallas to work? Why did he leave Big D for more money in Miami? And why did he just leave Miami and will end up another place next season? Because he went through a messy divorce and SHE took it all. That happened right BEFORE he took the Dallas gig. Peyton's waiting.

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