Is Irsay trying to force Peyton out with contract threats?

IMG_9573It’s been all the buzz. Will Peyton Manning be back with the Colts next year? Will the Colts pay his $28 Million bonus with his injury? Will the Colts draft Andrew Luck and trade Peyton?

I am a big Peyton fan and I’ve kept quiet about this until now. Most of what’s been stirring around has been rumour and conjecture to this point, but that changed yesterday when Colts owner Jim Irsay made this comment

“We can make it work if he wants to be here,” Irsay said. “We’d be excited to have him back and finish his career with us.

“I want him to be able to make the choice. We would love to have him back here if he can get healthy and we can look at doing a contract that reflects the uncertainty of the . . . healing process with the regeneration of the nerve.”

This comes from a guy who a year ago wanted to make Peyton the highest paid player in the NFL. In fact, last July Peyton rejected a 5 year $100 million deal for a 5 year $90 million deal, allegedly because he wanted to keep a team around him.

“While I appreciate Jim Irsay offering to make me the highest-paid player,” Manning told The Indianapolis Star, “I told him I’d rather he save that money and keep whoever it is … (running back) Joe Adda, (left tackle) Charlie Johnson… whoever that may be. I’m willing to take less than they’ve offered if they are going to take that money to keep players we need to keep and go get other players. All I want is for them to have the cap and the cash to keep the players they want to keep and to sign other players.”

Now, 8 months later, Jim Irsay is trying to put Peyton’s future on him. Seems a little cowardly to me. Honestly, I think Irsay owes Manning a big payday. Yes, the NFL is a business, and not a charity, but Manning has taken a backwater NFL team that had been lackluster for over 20 years and put them on the map. Remember, in 1996 they won 3 times in 1997 to draft Manning. In the last 14 years the have been one of the elite teams in the league with a Super Bowl victory and a shiny new $720 million stadium that hosted the 2012 Super Bowl. The Colts and the city of Indianapolis owe Peyton a lot.

Sure, it’s hard to feel sorry for a guy who has made $174 million in his career (plus endorsements which are probably more than his NFL contracts). It’s also hard to feel sorry for an NFL owner. Honestly, I think Peyton will want to pay, so if Irsay wants to renegotiate his contract to keep him on to work with Andrew Luck, then Peyton will likely go look for options elsewhere. If Irsay wants to pay him starting QB money in the hopes he gets better, Peyton will probably stick around. Either way, I hope Irsay treats him with respect and is a man about making his decision.