Peyton Manning “The 90 Million Dollar Man!” (Signs 5 Year Agreement w/ Colts
An injured Peyton Manning has been resisting Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay’s attempts to make him the highest-paid player in the NFL.
Manning got his wish. He has agreed to a five-year deal for $90 million, or $18 million a year — equal to what New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is making, sources told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen Saturday.
A Colts source said Manning had told Irsay a five-year, $100 million proposal that was heavily back-loaded in the final two years was not necessary to give him a $20 million average that no NFL player has ever attained.
Manning met with Irsay and team president Bill Polian on Thursday to communicate his feelings on the new contract and encouraged them to spend money saved on his potential deal to re-sign Colts free agents while building the team’s talent level and depth chart.
“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 Addai, (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.”
The four-time league MVP backed up his words when he directed agent Tom Condon to be more conservative in negotiations in meetings with Polian about the contract, sources said.
Irsay wrote on Twitter that he would meeting with Manning on Saturday.
” ‘Men Who Stare at Boats’ Peyton and I will have a table for 2 today at Rick’s Boat Yard -Large napkins,sharp pens-let’s get ‘er done!” Irsay wrote.
Manning also acknowledged uncertainty in his meeting with Irsay and Polian about his specific return to normal football activity as he rehabilitates from May 23 neck surgery to remove a portion of a bulging disk that was causing nerve malfunctions and pain.
That uncertainty could impact the amount of up-front guaranteed money Manning will receive from the team, though it is possible a formula to expand those guarantees will be built into the contract once both sides are comfortable his recovery is complete.
Manning’s goal is to be ready for the Colts’ regular-season opener as he enters the season with the NFL’s longest active playing regular-season starting streak of 208 games.
Irsay originally said doctors expected Manning’s rehab to take six to eight weeks; however, sources say Manning still has “quite a ways to go” to be ready for a full practice regimen, let alone play in a preseason game.
One source said Manning has been rehabbing diligently but getting his nerves to regenerate completely, as well as strengthening his neck, shoulder and arm, is a process that doesn’t always satisfy his lack of patience for healing.
Colts coach Jim Caldwell expressed confidence Friday when he was asked how he expected Manning to approach the uncertainty of his injury.
“Like a professional, like he always does, in a first-class manner, work harder than any man on the planet to get himself ready faster than anybody, (but) he’s not ready right now,” Caldwell said. “Nobody works any harder, nobody is more diligent, more dedicated and he certainly has great faith in our staff that works with him here and at some point in time he’ll be ready to go and when that is, we’ll turn him loose.”