You’ve probably been getting weird looks around the office while you’re sprinkling grains of salt on your keyboard and computer monitor. We understand, though. That’s standard procedure as the days and hours tick down to free agency, and the loosely-sourced rumors start mounting. Everyone does that, no?

Grab your salt shaker for this one, because the reporter in question–Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel–doesn’t sound too confident, and admits as much. Still, this hurt my eyes…

Again, let’s ease the overreaction, or if you’re not overreacting, I’ll try to ease mine. Kelly seems to think that I’m crazy for thinking that contract is at least slightly crazy.

And if you think NFL teams aren’t willing to pay that for Peyton Manning you’re kidding yourself. However, everyone but the Broncos and Titans (which is why they are now at the table) would need to purge their roster to get a 3-year, $65 million deal done. Broncos can get it done, PLUS add Reggie Wayne, Jeff Saturday, Dallas Clark. Titans have about $28M. Take from this what u want. As I told u earlier today…the info that comes out at this point is TOXIC. POISON. But you’ll swallow it anyway.

He’s right. It tastes horrible.

All we have here is Kelly’s very educated guess, which is presumably rooted in speculation from his various sources. If we assume for a moment that he’s right, then we still have no idea how much of that figure is guaranteed, and how much Manning will earn through incentives.

As long as we’re guessing around here, the easy dart throw on those two fronts is that he’ll be guaranteed somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million annually in a deal that’s back-end loaded, with much of the money then tied to incentives that center around game participation. That will likely be as simple as the number of games Manning appears in, but the number of snaps and pass attempts could also be included.

Kelly’s guess pegs Manning’s annual cap hit at about $21.6 million, which could heavily fluctuate depending on the contract structure. That’s the kind of money the old, pre-injury Manning would easily make, and would more than deserve.

But even with the glowing reports about his condition from former teammates that continue to emerge, that’s still a hard figure to fathom for a quarterback with an unpredictable future, and a unique and severe injury.