Contract talks between the Colts and Peyton Manning haven’t gone as well as the two sides would’ve liked, but that doesn’t mean Manning has any chance of leaving the team anytime soon.
Indy will use the franchise tag on Manning between now and Feb. 22, according to Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star. That was expected to be the case once Manning and the Colts broke off contract talks during the season.
Of course, there’s a chance the tag will be irrelevant, since there’s no guarantee it’ll be a part of the new collective bargaining agreement.
Regardless, the two sides are adamant on getting a deal done and there’s no way Colts president Bill Polian lets Manning become a free agent until he’s reached a point at which he’s no longer an elite quarterback. There’s also a belief that Manning will get the most lucrative contract in NFL history, but he’ll be 35 next month and lost a bunch of leverage with a less-than-spectacular 2010 season.
Colts owner Jim Irsay has gone on record saying Manning will become the highest-paid player in the game, but that was prior to this season. Tom Brady received a four-year, $72 million contract with $48.5 million in guarantees last offseason — but Brady is a year and a half younger and is coming off of a MVP campaign.
Still, Chappell notes that when Polian and Manning’s agent Tom Condon last talked in January, “the Colts apparently made an offer that topped Brady’s.”
Colts president Bill Polian offered no update on his discussions with Tom Condon, Manning’s agent.
“It’ll get done when it gets done,” he said Wednesday. “We’re in a very, very unsettled situation as an industry, so I don’t have any timetable specifically.”
Brady has never been paid Manning money, but Brady’s resume actually merits a higher salary than Manning’s. The Pats and Colts have very similar organizational philosophies — neither let veterans linger past their prime. It’ll be interesting to see how the teams treat their 30-something-year-old quarterbacks when age begins to drag them down.