Peyton Manning has just zoomed to the top of my NFL player respect list. Manning is in the middle of negotiations on a new contract with the Colts and he is resisting efforts by the Colts owner Jim Isray to make him the highest paid player in the NFL. Outstanding…..and this is coming from an avowed Patriots fan.
The great players in any sport are not only great because of what they do in the games. They are great because they see the team first. They see the pieces to the team that gets them the championships and wins they want first. They see the big picture. They aren’t just about the money. They are about winning. If winning means they take less money, then they take less money. Brady has done it before as well. Less money for them, so more money can be spread out to get and to keep players that make winning possible. Manning is doing this now.
Isray has apparently offered a $100 million deal that was filled at the back end to put Manning at the $20 million a year mark. Manning however had this to say to the Indianapolis Star, “While I appreciate Jim Irsay offering to make me the highest-paid player, 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.” Team first.
Manning has in fact told his agent Tom Condon to proceed more conservatively going forward in negotiations. He is fine with making what Tom Brady is making and giving extra money back into the team’s cap for other players. Manning has also said that he wants the contract done by Sunday before the start of camp. Even though he is not starting camp due to his neck problems, he doesn’t want the contract situation to drag into camp time and definitely not into season time to be a distraction of any kind. Again, way to man up.
Manning’s rehabbing from the neck surgery on May 23 is taking longer than expected. The team expects he will be ready to play by the season opener, but that is not guaranteed at this point. This could affect the amount of guaranteed up front money in his contract if the two sides are still really uncertain about his ability to play.
Peyton Manning is doing what every great athlete does – put the team first. Way to man up.