Indianapolis Colts to put franchise tag on Peyton Manning
The uncertainty of the recent National Football League labour negotiations has wide reaching ramifications. Whenever a new labour deal is reached, it is bound to include a salary cap and salary floor. The problem is that teams have no idea where those two
boundaries will be. The NFL clubs are hesitant to re-sign players without knowing what the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will bring with it.
The Indianapolis Colts quarter-back, Peyton Manning is to enter free agency in the off-season. There is no possibility that the Colts will let Manning slip through their fingers. Manning himself has also clearly said that he wants to continue playing for
the team for many years to come. He could very well retire as a Colt.
Manning’s last contract extension has made him the most expensive player in the NFL, until Tom Brady got his new contract with the New England Patriots. Manning’s contract paid him an astronomical $14 million in salary each year. When he signs a new contract,
he will most likely once again be the most expensive player in the NFL. When the Colts signed him in 2004, they had to renegotiate contracts of many veteran players to keep the team within the salary cap. They even had to release five veteran players to fit
Manning on the roster.
The Colts will not hesitate to take such drastic actions again if they are to retain Manning. However, giving him a contract extension without knowing anything about the salary cap can be considered a little reckless.
The short term solution for the Colts is to designate Manning with the franchise tag. They have until 22 February, 2011 to franchise the quarter-back for the 2011 NFL season. Colts Owner Jim Irsay has no reservations about keeping Manning and giving him
a lucrative contract. He said that the Colts would make Manning the highest paid player as soon as a new contract is negotiated. “It'll get done when it gets done,” team President, Bill Polian said on Wednesday. “We're in a very, very unsettled situation as
an industry, so I don't have any timetable specifically.”
Until then, the franchise tag will keep Manning on the team without giving him a new contract.
Each NFL team can use the tag on just one player for one year. When a player is franchised, he is to receive 120% of his previous salary or the average of the five highest paid players in his position, whichever is more. Manning is already one of the highest
paid players in the NFL. With an exclusive franchise tag, Manning will be paid almost $23 million and prevent him from getting any offers from any other club. Polian stated that the Colts were willing to use the franchise tag if it came down to it. The Colts
used the tag on Manning in 2004 before giving him a seven year, $98 million contract.