Imagine the trepidation in the Peyton Manning household during the next few days. Thursday is “D-day” for not only Manning, but the rest of the Indianapolis community. March 8th is the day the colts have to decide if they will pay Manning the $28 million dollar bonus and keep him in the only NFL city he has played in.
The ball is in Owner Jim Irsay’s court, and he could go either way. Keep in mind he has been a quiet owner for this franchise, unlike his father. Yet lately Irsay has begun to act like the father. He has become more outgoing; the firing of Vice Chairman Bill Polian and his General Manager son Chris was another step in the wrong direction.
If you’re going to revamp this team without Peyton, who better to have lead the charge than Bill Polian. Yet Irsay evidently saw Polian as a threat and in Manning’s corner, so he let them go. In comes former Philadelphia Eagles scout Ryan Grigson. Grigson has spent the better part of the last ten years on the road, yet he put his stamp on the franchise right away by firing Coach Jim Caldwell after the 2-14 season without Manning in control.
Yet here we are, waiting, as are the Manning’s. This brings us back to the atmosphere in their household. Can you imagine staring $28 million dollars in the face, having it so close you can see, taste it, fantasize about it and yet know it might not happen?
Certainly Manning understands the odds. The probabilities of staying with the Colts are less than 20%. Why pay $28 big ones for a quarterback that may or may not ever play again? Irsay has to answer that question to himself. Yet Manning knows his payday will be coming.
Whether it is Thursday or a couple weeks down the road, Manning will get his bucks. It’s just different if it comes from a Washington or Arizona. That means he has to pick up his family and move from the only NFL home he has ever known. Not an easy thing for any family to do under any circumstance.
And it may not be $28 million Manning get’s elsewhere. Manning might be worth that amount with the Colts, but not in another city. Sure Manning brings class, immediate Super Bowl expectations and celebrity with him to any city. But at $28 million any franchise can use that in many other directions.
Manning will dictate a high contract, but probably not anything close to what he has at Indy. Look for a 3-4 year deal around $35 million with a signing bonus of $18 million. Those kinds of numbers will be easy to justify to any fans around the league.
Especially those in Washington, where the thought of playing against brother Eli may be too interesting to turn down.