ESPN is reporting that the Colts have made an opening offer to Peyton Manning, but the details are fascinating.
While the Colts are willing to make Manning, 35, the highest-paid player in NFL history, sources say the Colts are expressing the need to show reasonable financial constraints on a five-year deal. Sources say team president Bill Polian presented a pitch Thursday that the Colts want more cash flow to build the talent around Manning with a more aggressive offseason that could include a few key free agent signings. Even though the Colts will remain a franchise that builds around the draft, they have signed just four free agents since Manning signed his last $98 million contract in 2004.
The two sides are trying to consummate a deal before the league year ends at 11:59 p.m. March 3, when players will not be allowed to sign contract unless there is a new collective bargaining agreement.
I have heard rumblings that Indy might be interested in offensive line help through free agency. This news jives with the word on the street. The Colts currently need help at running back (Addai is a free agent), safety, offensive line and defensive tackle.
Peyton Manning will have to walk a fine line. Given the current labor climate, there is no question that he has to be the highest paid player in the league. This is not really an option. Too many other players' deals are affected by Manning's for him to take a big 'home town discount'. The fact that Indy is aware of that and willing to oblige is a good sign.