Earlier today, we learned that the Colts actually had an extra day to make a decision on Peyton Manning. Turns out, they won’t need it.

After 14 years together, the team and Manning will officially cut ties during a Wednesday press conference in Indianapolis. Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay are both expected to be in attendance.

Manning was due a $28 million non-guaranteed bonus at the end of this week, and to many it was an inevitability that the Colts were going to take this route. Now, they have the freedom to use the top pick in April’s draft on Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck without having to worry about a potentially awkward and financially crippling transition from Manning to Luck.

And they also don’t have to stress about the possibility of breaking the bank for a quarterback who turns 36 this month and didn’t take a single snap in 2011 due to the lingering effects of multiple procedures on his neck.

Again, no one is surprised by this development, but it’s still a shock to the system because less than a year ago Manning was the undisputed franchise quarterback in Indy, and only two years ago he was the reigning MVP as the Colts came off a Super Bowl season.

The real shock, though, won’t come until Manning dons something other than stampede blue. It’s almost impossible to envision No. 18 in any other jersey.

Unless Manning retires, we’ll have that surreal feeling in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, Manning is a free agent.

The circus is open.