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If you are Peyton Manning, or anyone in sports, you’d suspect that you will get paid for your performance.

(from indianapolisstar.com) Manning wants to be a Colt for life, but are $$$ getting in the way of that, or is it the impending expiration of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement?

Today, the Indianapolis Colts want to assure that he gets the money he deserves. The NFL’s only 4-time (regular season) MVP has been slapped with the franchise tag by the team that drafted him number one overall in 1998. The franchise tag in the NFL means that the player it is applied to is not allowed to have contract negotiations or discussions with other teams. As reports on ESPN.COM by Chris Mortensen and NFL Insider Adam Shefter say that under the current system that Manning is due over $23 Million in salary in the next year, the Colts plan on making Sheriff Manning (as my friends and I call him) the richest player in the history of the NFL. Moreover, if any indication of Tom Brady’s payday of a 4-year, $72 Million extension, with $48.5 Million in guarantees in September 2010. That deal made Brady the NFLs richest man. The way the Colts are approaching Manning, they plan on surpassing that. The only NFL players that have been hit with the franchise tag are Manning and the Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick and San Diego Chargers WR Vincent Jackson in 2011.

Both sides, reportedly, met in January 2011 for their first talks since the Colts season ended in a Wild-Card round loss to the New York Jets earlier that month. When they met on January 24th,  the Indianapolis Star’s Mike Chappell reported, contract talks were “uneventful”, but Colts Owner Jim Isray seems to be more willing to keep his big fish at all costs, but wants to remain “financially flexible” in keeping Manning’s “supporting cast strong”. Since becoming a member of the Colts, the team has invested $146 million in Manning, including a contract extension in 2004, a $98 Million deal, which made him the richest NFL player at the time. Manning has played for 13 years, and will be 35 in March, is the current leader in consecutive games started at 227 (through 2010).

Consistent. Durable. Excellence in performance. Who wouldn’t want to pay this guy top dollar?

(from Getty Images) Brady’s payday is going to pale in comparison’s to Manning’s PEYday.

One fault of the Colts and the team never being able to get over the hump when it comes to Championship runs, despite their dominance in the regular season, is the constant injuries and not enough depth in  key positions when those players get taken out (see Dallas Clarke’s absence in 2010). The Colts only seem to get a player at a time to surround Manning with the help he needs on offense, and the key defensive positions they need to stay viable during the playoffs. They have not made any significant big free agent signings in years when game changing players have been available. Whether signing Manning to keep him for the rest of his future Hall of Fame career with big numbers has been hindering them from picking someone up or not, keeping Manning is keeping wins not turn into losses.

Also, for your viewing pleasure, is a list of the highest paid players in the NFL (prior to Brady’s payday, he is now #1) from July 2010, from SportsUntapped.com:

  1. QB Peyton Manning, Colts $30.8 million total earnings (9th among US athletes, $15.8m salary/$15m endorsements)
  2. QB Matthew Stafford, Lions $27.6m (11, $26.9m/$0.7m)
  3. QB Eli Manning, Giants $26.5m (T13, $19.5m/$7m)
  4. QB Philip Rivers, Chargers $25.8m (17, $25.6m/$0.2m)
  5. LB Terrell Suggs, Ravens $24.9m (19, $24.9m/$0.0m)
  6. DL Albert Haynesworth, Redskins $24.6m (20, $24.6m/$0.1m)
  7. QB Brett Favre, Vikings $24m (21, $17m/$7m)
  8. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders $21.5m (28, $21.4m/$0.0m)
  9. RT Jason Smith, Rams $20.6m (33, $20.5m/$0.0m)
  10. DE Julius Peppers, Bears $20m (36, $20m/$0.0m)
  11. NT Vince Wilfork, Patriots $18.9m (38, $18.9m/$0.0m)
  12. CB DeAngelo Hall, Redskins $18.5m (40, $18.5m/$0.0m)
  13. DE Tyson Jackson, Chiefs $18.1m (42, $18.1m/$0.0m)
  14. QB Mark Sanchez, Jets $16.9m (48, $16.4m/$0.5m)
  15. LB DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys $16.8m (49, $16m/$0.8m)

Sources used in this article are from ESPN.COM and the Indianapolis Star, SportsUntapped.com

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2 thoughts on “Peyday for Peyton: Colts Apply Franchise Tag Nicely

  1. Manning deserves big money, but paying him more than Brady would be a reach for the Colts. Maybe they do that to reward the man who has made their franchise a household name for football fans, but that would be the only reason. Peyton is probably one of the greatest regular season QB's I've seen in my lifetime and that's worth a lot. But at his age and with the lack of talent you've mentioned, spending the farm on him could mean mediocrity for the team. Especially with Jim Caldwell coaching.

  2. I agree w/ your thoughts. A point I failed to mention was Caldwell, and he is a part of the problem. It was a nice gesture to move him up to HC, but maybe his style is what is leaving them stagnant. I think a change of coaching might serve the Colts well. He deserves the money as much as Brady deserves his, IMO.

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