Labour dispute could leave Peyton Manning without a contract
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has made it clear that he wants to continue playing with the team for years to come; and possibly even retire with them. Obviously the Colts want to keep Manning on their roster too. All sides want the same thing
however; there are complications in signing Manning for the 2011 season. At this point there is a very real possibility that there might not actually be a 2011 season.
Colts owner Jim Irsay has gotten behind Manning fully. He said, “I look for it to get quietly done. This is a very rare situation in terms of a player and his legacy and what he means to the team, what he means to me personally.”
However, the lack of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is a snag for both sides.
The Colts offered Manning a contract extension in October but Manning said that he needed to focus on football. The quarterback put off negotiations with the team until the end of the season. The season ended for the Colts after they were defeated by the
New York Jets in the first round of the playoffs, and now it’s time to get Manning to sign a contract.
Manning signed a $99.2 million contract with the Colts in 2004. The contract paid Manning a mind-boggling $14.17 million annually, and made him the highest paid player in NFL history. The quarterback is all set on his way to become the highest paid player
in the NFL again as soon as he signs a new contract. However, if the Colts don’t sign him, Manning’s stint as a free agent would be the shortest in history because teams would look to snap him up as soon as possible.
If there is uncertainty about the 2011 season, the Colts could slap Manning with their franchise tag and keep him secure for a year. Under the CBA, a player given the Franchise tag is paid 120 percent of his salary for the next year. In Manning’s case that
comes out to be $23.07 million every year. There is no telling what the Salary Cap situation would be under the new CBA but according the existing CBA, that $23 million number is over 28 percent of the cap. Some would say that is too much even for a quarterback
like Peyton Manning.
There might also be some soul searching to do on Manning’s part when the contract is eventually negotiated. His last contract with the Colts showered Manning with riches, but the Colts paid a heavy cost for it. If the Salary Cap stays the same or is reduced
with the new CBA, the Colts would find themselves in a rather difficult financial situation.
After signing Manning in 2004, Indianapolis had to scramble to renegotiate the contracts of many veteran players, in order to stay under the Salary Cap. They even let five veterans go. The Colts would cough up a record-breaking contract for Manning in a
heartbeat, but perhaps the quarterback should figure out what he really wants with his time in Indianapolis. If money is all that matters to him, then he would obviously go after the best deal he can get from the Colts. However, if Manning is looking for more
wins and perhaps another Super Bowl or two, he should consider settling for a little less so that the Colts can beef up the roster with more quality players.
Manning was his exceptional self during the 2010-11 season, but a lack of depth in the roster and a slew of Injuries in Indianapolis, meant that Manning struggled to produce wins. Peyton Manning is without a shadow of doubt the best quarterback in the NFL
at the moment, and it’s only fitting that he should become the highest paid player in the league, but he could very well be too good and in turn too costly for the Colts.
While the situation is complicated, there is no way that the Colts will let Manning go. They are just waiting and watching to make sure they play their cards right, and don’t rush into anything which might come back to haunt them later.