Little over a week ago, rumors were circulating that Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning may have been a reason the end of the NFL Lockout was delayed due to his specific demands. Now he is resisting the efforts of Colts owner Jim Irsay to make him the highest-paid player in the NFL for the good of the rest of the team.
A Colts source told ESPN that Manning told Irsay a proposal given to him for a five-year, $100 million contract was not necessary. The contract was back-loaded over the final two years and it would have given him a $20 million average unlike anything any NFL player has ever had. Manning says he is content with having a salary equal to or less than that of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady who got $18 million in 2010.
Irsay is truly hoping to convince Manning otherwise.
Upon meeting with Irsay and team president Bill Polian on Thursday, Manning tried to convince them to spend the money saved to re-sign Colts free agents and bringing in other talents to build depth.
“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.”
On May 23, 2011, Manning had neck surgery to remove a portion of a bulding disk that was causing nerve malfunctions and pain. He is currently rehabilitating and hopes to be ready for the season opener which would keep his regular-season game starting streak at 208 games. It is the longest active in the NFL.
Image gallery of Peyton Manning
Manning and agent Tom Condon are going to be more conservative in negotiations with Polian about the quarterback’s contract. Over the weekend, both sides are set to exchange proposals with Manning overly emphatic that he wants the deal done by Sunday before the Colts open camp.
With uncertainty now surrounding his injury and recovery time though, Colts coach Jim Caldwell was still confident in how things were going.
“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.”
Manning is very sincere about his wish to take a smaller contract so that other players like Joseph Addai can be re-signed and a new contract can be negotiated for defensive end Robert Mathis. He feels as if this is the best way to help build a championship team instead of the full financial focus being on him.
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