It is clear that the ever-competitive Peyton Manning is determined to play football…somewhere. The elder Manning is orchestrating a very public campaign to announce his availability with the latest salvo courtesy of ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“Manning is completely open to creating a contract,” writes Schefter, “in which he would be paid little or no guaranteed money up front and he would have to earn every cent he makes strictly through performance, according to sources.”
Wait, what? Manning signaling contract flexibility while still on an ironclad contract to the Indianapolis Colts?
Earlier this month, Manning’s doctors cleared him to play football. That is play, not just rehabilitate and practice. Manning released that news in the lead up to the Super Bowl and it seems to have caught the Colts by surprise. Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted shortly after that the team’s medical staff has not cleared Manning to play.
Peyton Manning has two obstacles to overcome to catch on with another team—prove his ability to play this year and offer contract concessions that hedge the risks for any team that signs him.
Manning may surrender some of the guarantees in his Colts contract for a future team, but the team that signs him will still pony up about $30 million bonus money to clinch a deal. Meanwhile, his people deny that Manning has a short list of teams he hopes to play for.
The Colts owe Manning a $28 million bonus by March 8 to retain him under his current contract. If they choose not to pay him, Manning will be an unrestricted free agent. The colts have a serious rebuilding task ahead of them. A lot of smart people think they cannot afford to tie up the salary cap in both Manning and top Draft pick Andrew Luck and restock talent.
Irsay has said that, if Manning is an active player in 2012, he will play for the Colts.
Gambling tout Bovada (was Bodog) quotes 5/2 odds that the Washington Redskins will sign Manning for the 2012 season. The Arizona Cardinals, who signed former Eagles back-up Kevin Kolb last season, are the surprise odds (2/1) on favorites to sign Manning. The Miami Dolphins who are frequently linked to Manning are 3/1 odds.
The good news here? No one is talking about Brett Favre’s return to football.
Good thing to remember, in the offseason everybody lies.