When the initial terms for Peyton Manning’s contract with the Colts first surfaced, we expressed some cautious criticism, with the disclaimer that we still couldn’t make a full and accurate judgment because the guaranteed money wasn’t known. The guaranteed money is more than just a crucial component of the contract, as it’s the anchor of Manning’s deal that determines how much risk Denver will absorb in 2012 and beyond.
We also said that we’d just update our earlier post instead of writing an entirely new post. Then I remembered something: I very shamelessly enjoy pageviews.
That guaranteed money has now emerged, and those hoping for some sanity from Denver have been granted their wish. The only fully guaranteed portion of Manning’s contract is the $18 million he’ll make next year, according to NFL Network’s Albert Breer.
Then the highly protective contract details begin. That initial $18 million is indeed the only fully guaranteed money, and is money Manning has in his pocket the moment he signs the contract. If Manning survives the 2012 season in one piece, he’ll then have a physical in March of 2013. If he passes, he’ll be guaranteed $20 million for both 2013 and 2014, according to Andrew Brandt.
However, Brandt adds that there’s a waiver on Manning’s neck, a stipulation that protects the Broncos medically, and would affect the guaranteed money if the four-time MVP’s chronic injury flares up during those two years when he’s set to earn a combined $40 million. So in total there could be up to $58 million guaranteed, but again, the neck waiver is key.
With its checks and balances, this structure effectively manages the risk assumed with the overall $96 million deal, but Manning’s guaranteed money in the first year alone is still baffling and confusing. It’s not the $19.2 million yearly average that was first floated, but $18 million is still substantial.
I won’t repeat much of my earlier rant here, I’ll just adjust it slightly. No one is surprised that desperation and optimism drove Manning’s price up significantly, but it still crosses some boundary of sanity when a quarterback who’s been out of football for a year and has had four neck surgeries is set to make the same guaranteed he would have at full health as a Colt last year.
Outside of Manning, the real winner in this is his agent Tom Condon. That man needs a raise, now.