According to Andrew Brandt the NFL Players Association says even if the Colts and Manning agree to move back the date on his option bonus it's not permissable:
Re questions about Manning/Colts moving back 3/8 date for $28 million option, NFLPA tells me "it can't happen." Complicated language.
[Insert standard "I Am Not A Lawyer" statement]
Here's the CBA and looks like Article 13, Section 8 is at least one part regarding renegotiations.
If you download the "searchable" version this is on pages 107-108 (per page # at bottom) or pages 122-123 (per page # in PDF reader)
A13.S8.a.iii - "No contract renegotiations may be done for a current season after the last regular season game of that season"
(To me, this would mean that since the option is due THIS "league" year and the last regular season game has been played, no renegotiation)
A13.S8.e - "An amendment to a Player Contract that changes the terms under which signing bonus is paid is a renegotiation."
A13.S7.c - "Any amount specified to be paid for the exercise of an option by a Club to extend the term of a Player Contract shall be treated as signing bonus, prorated over the remaining term of the contract commencing in the League Year in which it is exercised..."
(To me, A13.S8.e and A13.S7.c together would mean the option is considered a "signing bonus" as soon as it is picked up for salary cap, but could also be seen as a signing bonus right now, meaning simply changing the date is a "renegotiation" and going back to the A13.S8.a.iii, can't renegotiate current year stuff after last regular season game)
Seeing as most lawyers can argue with a straight face that something means the exact opposite of what it says, don't know if this really helps.
Hey Colts fans! Remember last off season, with all the lawyers and inane press conferences and insane bickering over the finer points of contract law? Yeah, that was fun, right?
Fuck. Here we go again.
They can do anything they want to behind closed doors. Handshake Agreements have and will be done. Irsay and Manning will agree to do what is best for The Colts and each other. They are very close.
@lezmaka Thanks for digging this up! For what it's worth, your conclusions look right to me, even though I dread their implications for the Manning decision. Let's hope the Colts' lawyers can spin this into a favorable situation for the team.
@vbcolts Section 3 of the CBA allows for the NFLPA to audit a team's financials in cases like this. Handshake agreements and backroom deals wouldn't hold water here--the NFLPA will strongly oppose any efforts to do so.
@vbcolts They still have to fulfill the contract nomatter how many handshakes they have.
I think you're idealizing their relations. They might be close, but it's not like Manning plays for vet. min.