Today's post comes from occasional fan contributor Stephen Reed, who has contributed several pieces for Coltsider, and will continue to contribute from time to time.
With all the “new” information being leaked or tweeted over the past few weeks about Peyton Manning’s neck, it’s only appropriate to address a possibly developing issue. People say that they need to either cut Peyton Manning or keep him and take a risk on his health. However, it seems as if the two sides can agree to move back the payment date on his roster bonus. What we do know is Peyton Manning wants to play football in 2012. He is determined to play football in 2012. He likely will play football in 2012. The $28 million question is where?
*It is recognized that the NFLPA will argue that this is unable to be done due to the new CBA while the NFL will say that moving back the deadline is not renegotiating the contract because the money or terms of the contract hasn’t changed. If it is movable there is a question as to whether it would be considered part of the 2011 or 2012 league year. For purposes of this article, it is assumed that they can move back the due date and it will be a part of the 2012 league year. Additionally, it is assumed that Peyton Manning and his representatives are willing to move back the due date. If the contract can be renegotiated, then it would be sense for both sides to do so if they truly want to work this situation out.
If the Colts and Manning agree to move back the deadline to just after the league year begins, it could put the Colts in a worse cap position. They will have basically the same opportunity to make an educated decision on Manning’s health. Remember that currently the $28 million bonus has already been prorated to be a part of the 2011 cap number and if the due date were moved back the Colts would lose the $5.6 million cap credit they would have received had he been cut prior to March 13. If they exercised the option and traded him, the cap hit would be increased from $38.4 million to $44 million. It should be noted that if the option is moved a few days after the start of the new league year then the Colts could still trade Peyton without taking the $28 million cap hit. This scenario would require them to have a trade partner already lined up before the start of the new league year and that team must be willing to exercise the $28 million bonus almost immediately or quickly renegotiate his deal. Manning would be more receptive to this date than the others because it forces the Colts to make a decision, likely cutting him, so he can sign wherever he sees fit. Thus, it would actually be cap prohibitive to move the due date to just after the 2012 league year begins but it would likely be the date Manning would be willing to accept.
If they could move back the date to the beginning of April, the cap situation would remain the same. However, it would give the Colts an opportunity to get a better gauge on Peyton’s progress. This would also open up the possibility of a trade because if he is traded prior to the due date, which would make a lot of sense for other teams, the Colts would only be on the hook for $16 million of the accelerated cap hit from his $20 million bonus Peyton received last summer. It would make more sense for QB needy teams because they could get Manning and avoid going after a free agency QB. They could also not worry about drafting a QB early in the draft. Manning may not be amicable to moving the date back to here because would be unable to choose his destination. While the Colts would actually be worse off if Peyton is traded after the due date, moving the due date back to the beginning of April would give the Colts a few more options but it wouldn’t really change their situation nor would it change Peyton’s situation unless miraculous progress is made in his rehab.
The next possible date to move the due date to is the beginning of May. This would be beneficial to the Colts in terms of potential draft pick value if they chose to trade Manning. Once again, the cap situation remains the same. However, teams that did not get their QB during free agency will have an extra incentive to trade a little more for Peyton Manning. Additionally, the Colts can get creative in the deals they accept. For instance, similar to other deals, there can be a potential escalator clause in a trade. This would allow the Colts to receive a draft pick or two this year and if Peyton plays even a down next year, they will receive another draft pick from his new team. The new team would take some inherent risk in trading for Peyton Manning given his health condition, but it would be slightly lessened given a clause similar to the one mentioned above. Manning may be willing to move the date back because it would give him more time to get healthy. However, it would not allow him to choose a destination of his liking, which could be problematic. Moving the due date to early May, would be the best option for the Colts but less beneficial for Manning.
The last option is to move the due date after June 1. This doesn’t really help Manning but helps the Colts slightly in terms of salary. For Manning, it would give him more time to recover but after June 1, most teams will have their QB situation resolved. This would also not be beneficial to the Colts because his market value would decrease substantially. At that point, there would only be a team or two that would be interested in Manning. However, it may allow the salary cap hit to be lessened because if he were cut after June 1, the “dead money” would be spread evenly over the 2012 and 2013 caps.
It should be generally accepted that Peyton Manning wants to move on from Indianapolis. The misleading leaks from “sources” have only solidified this. He seems to be trying to force Irsay’s hand, toying with the heart-strings of Colts’ nation. By doing this, it shows he will be ready to play, wants to play… elsewhere. While all of the recent medical reports are helping Manning gain leverage now against Irsay, Irsay can use this leverage to his advantage at the negotiating table with potential trade partners. If Peyton truly wants to be a Colt for life, all of this would not be public. The point is the Colts need to be compensated if they lose Peyton Manning.
If the due date is moved to just after the league year begins, it doesn’t really help either party. If the due date is moved back to early April or May, then Peyton Manning should likely be traded. If the due date is moved back to June or later, then the Colts will either take a less valuable trade or cut Manning. If the option is available, the Colts should aim to get a date in early May and Manning should try to get a date just after the league year. From the Colts’ perspective it would make a lot of sense to trade Manning to get additional value from him. While trading Peyton Manning may not be the popular decision to many Colts’ fans, it is necessary. It’s a tough situation, an impossible one to have imagined a year ago, but if the date is moved back, the Colts should trade Peyton Manning.
Note: This scenario is not likely, due to the probable angst involved in moving the date back. There have been multiple, conflicting reports on the issue. However, for the purposes of the discussion, assume the date can be moved back. What would you do?
I think it is a near certainty that the Colts will NOT:
a trade Manning
b pay Manning his 28M bonus by or on the 8th
So anyone wanting Manning to play again for the Colts should be focused on Manning being a free agent and resigning with the Colts. That is a possible, doable and projectable eventuality. Personally I think it is a longshot but it is the best hope for Manning=Colts fans, IMO.
As I see it, in this scenario, the issues become these:
1. Is there more mutual animosity built over last several months than loyalty and friendship built over last dozen years?
2. Will some team blow the market up with a huge guaranteed amount?
3. Will this situation be resolved before the draft? If not, Colts pretty much HAVE to draft Luck, dont they?
4. Are Colts willing to carry a renegotiated Manning plus Luck? Forget arguments both ways about wisdom of doing so; Will Irsay do it?
5. How does Manning see balance between retiring as a Colt vs which team gives him the best chance of polishing his legacy.
What else impacts this chance?
In our interview with Andrew Brandt, he mentioned that one of the key aspects of the option bonus is that it is a 2011 bonus, not a 2012 bonus. This makes it unique in that most bonuses are relevant for the coming year, not the year that is passing / has passed. With this structure, I don't know how far back the date could be moved without it constituting a renegotation (especially in the minds of the NFLPA).
"It should be generally accepted that Peyton Manning wants to move on from Indianapolis. The misleading leaks from “sources” have only solidified this [...] If Peyton truly wants to be a Colt for life, all of this would not be public."
I think that's nonsense. The only thing Peyton has said that I haven't believed is that he wasn't trying to start a fan campaign to keep him in Indy. I think Peyton wants to finish his career with the Colts. I think these leaks make it harder for Irsay to justify cutting him and thus maybe ever so slightly increase his odds of being retained (not really, but you have to play the game all the same). I don't deny that the leaks are also aimed at reassuring other teams, but since Peyton is going to want to play regardless of whether it's for the Colts or not, it would be silly not to expect him to play all the angles.
The Colts are probably going to cut Peyton, but I doubt it has anything to do with his desire or lack thereof to move on from Indianapolis.
If Peyton really prefers to play somewhere else, I don't see why he would be interested in moving the deadline. Why would he shift it to give the Colts a chance to trade him? Free agency gives him more control and doesn't weaken his new team.
But if Peyton really wants to stay and try to finish his career here, then there are many other ways to work things out because the Colts can decline the option to extend the current contract and sign him to a new one. That does mean a bigger hit on the 2012 salary cap since the release would accelerate last summer's money, but in the long run it would be far less risky and probably less expensive than paying the option bonus.
@ECB That's the big thing, in my opinion. The only reason Peyton would be interested in a trade would be because the traded team would sign his current option and keep the contract, which would likely be much more than a new contract.
Colts fans have been spoiled w/ the success and continuity we've enjoyed w/ Peyton. And, I think H Mudd and T Moore have really been missed. We knew Peyton couldn't play forever but lots of changes to handle - we'll see how it all plays out.. @Doug, on selecting a QB w/ the #1 pick - two words - last season .
Much to my chagrine, I am not a member of the Manning camp. Yet, it doesn't stop me frrom believing a few things about #18.
(1) He desperately wants to keep playing and not for just one season. But more like 4 or 5 more seasons.
(2) He would love to continue and finish his career with the Colts.
Those two points, probably most people would agree. Here is where my speculation starts and my lack of assess to Team Manning really pisses me off. Peyton does not want to be on a team with someone vying for his throne, at least not when he still plans on playing for several more seasons. In fact, I think he is probably insulted that the Colts are even thinking about drafting his successor.
The PR battle Peyton is waging for the hearts and minds of Colts fans, there is one thing he will never say publicly... but would probably love to, "why are you going to use the #1 pick on a QB when you have me?"
And that is why I don't see the March 8th day being moved back. It may just be business for the Colts, doing what they truly feel is in the best long term interests of the team. But from #18's standpoint, they might as well have picked up one of Reggie Wayne's gloves, and slapped him across the face with it.
Really! We should all be team owners because we know more than Irsay and Manning.
Manning is not super human, he is going leave the Colts sometime so give it up!
I think all Colt fans need to come to terms with the fact he's getting cut and you will likely see him throwing touchdowns in another uniform for several more years. Andrew Luck is our new QB and let's just hope the new Admin does a nice job and we're in the playoffs again in 3 years. Irsay is focused on the dozen years of 2014 - 2025, rather than the three years of 2012-2014.
Yeah, my understanding is that none of this is possible. The date can't be moved without renegotiating the deal.
There's basically no reason for Peyton to do this. Peyton wouldn't want his new team to trade picks for him, he'd rather just sign there. The Colts can't pay him the $28 million, so they have to cut him.
The idea that they could pull a 'sign and trade' situation like in the NBA isn't viable because there's no real cap reason to do it.
He's not getting traded.
@Nate Dunlevy Other than the uncertainty due to his nerve regenerating I do not understand why people keep saying the can't pay him the $28 million. Is that the only reason? Because they seemed to be fine with it when they signed the damn contract.
@LeviFuller Yes, because he's not nearly healthy enough to spend $28 million on. There's no guarantee he's going to be able to play. You can't take that kind of chance on a guy who is that severely hurt.
I think fans are buying the most optimistic descriptions of Manning's health which are not necessarily realistic appraisals of where he'll be come September.
Building a roster without a QB is death.
Manning was plenty. Indy didn't win more SBs because they needed more talent. They didn't win more SBs because of bad luck. The playoffs aren't about skill. Getting to the playoffs is about skill. What happens when you get there is all about luck.
@ECB@Nate Dunlevy If the roster is as bad as some are making it out you need to draft much more than Luck. I believe many of the writers on this site have conceded that next year will be a low win year even with Luck due to his rookie season and the rest of the roster. So it seems to me this years draft we will get Luck and have a chance at 2 other decent players (counting rounds 1 - 3 as having a decent chance) this year and 3 next year. By trading him we have 6 chances this year and 6 chances next year - if not more (according to projections on what we could get for him). So I think it slows down the process maybe a little to trade him but if option A is to draft Luck this year and other needed talent next year or B draft other talent this year and a QB next year I do not think it is a huge difference. The biggest difference between A and B is just how Luck turns out vs. the other QB we would draft in scenario B. The only definite in either situation is you have given yourself much more opputunity to hit on the other picks by option B just by sheer volume. In option B you could have a 500% success rate on your high picks and still turn out the same as option A with 100% success rate.
I also agree about QB being the most important piece to the puzzle but that also kinda proves the point about needing to build the rest of the team. For several years he have had one of the best - if not the best - QB's of all time and have made 2 SBs and won 1. I am not in the camp that they have underachieved but to me that paints a very bleak picture of us even ever making it again. If Manning was not enough to win a SB by himself (because I am also not in the camp that Manning can't win the big one or plays poorly in big games) doesn't that kinda prove how important it is to build a better team around the QB?
@Nate Dunlevy@LeviFuller If Manning can come back I'd really like to see us trade the #1 pick, and wouldn't mind if we did even if Peyton wasn't healthy. Picking a QB #1 overall is risky, and good QB's can be found elsewhere. Since Peyton there have been nine QB's taken #1 overall: Tim Couch, Michael Vick, David Carr, Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, Alex Smith, JaMarcus Russell, Matthew Stafford and Sam Bradford. A few solid players, a few outright busts, and a few in between. No real superstars. Draft picks are always a risk, even the #1 overall. If we can work a trade where we get a bunch of high picks, I think we have a better chance to rebuild.
San Diego's experiences with #1 picks is illustrative. Since whiffing on Leaf they have twice had the #1 pick. Both times they traded it and still ended up getting pretty good QBs. In 2001 they traded their shot at Michael Vick to Atlanta, used Atlanta's pick on LaDamien Tomlinson, and then picked Drew Brees in the 2nd round. In 2004 they traded Eli for Phillip Rivers and a #1 pick the following year who turned out to be Shawne Merriman.
@LeviFuller When rebuilding, the clock doesn't start ticking until you have a QB. Passing on Luck for a QB in 2013 means that 2012 is a totally wasted year.
I think Luck is the high percentage play.
@Nate Dunlevy I do not necessarily disagree but I think you could point to several teams who thought the sane thing when they were drafting a QB. I am sure SD had the same hopes for Leaf. If you listened to "experts" last year many thought Newton was a bust and Gabbert would be great. The fact is - even with Luck - you are not dealing with a known quantity. If Luck is as good as everyone seems to think he will be the pick will be remembered as a great one - if not people will look back and think how ridiculous it was the Colts took him instead of trading it when they could have gotten so much for it. So, to me, it comes down to your confidence in how good Luck will be - how much of a sure thing you think he is. Personally I am not willing to bet everything we could get for him on him being great. I am much more comfortable trading the pick - taking a flyer on someone in the 2nd or 3rd round (many all time greats have been found in these rounds - with a little bit of luck -pun intended) AND picking a a cheap backup or journeyman that could be serviceable for 1 year if needed. If it works out great. If not it means we will draft high next year PLUS have at least 1 extra 1st round pick. Between the 2 1st round picks you could get Barkley or Jones or whoever the "greatest QB ever" is for next years draft and still have all of the extra picks from the Luck trade. This plan also is not a sure thing but I think is has a much higher probability of netting positive results than banking everything on Luck being great. The only downside is the potential (I would even say that it would be probable) that our 2012 season is not a very good one. As far as future rebuild though I think you come out way ahead.
@LeviFuller No matter what Peyton does, you cannot trade the Luck pick. Manning is simply not healthy enough to count on. Even if he resigns, there's no guarantee he'll actually be able to play.
QB is everything. If you don't have one, you don't have anything.
The trade the pick ship sailed a long time ago. Manning isn't healthy enough to take that chance.
@Nate Dunlevy I can respect that decision if that is why it is made. If the rumors about him being willing to re-negoiate to an incentive based contract are accurate though I think it is insane not to take that deal.
On a tangent I still think it is insane to not take the "once-in-a-franchise" opportunity that has presented itself with Luck - the opportunity to trade that pick for several high picks and strengthen the team all around (if rumors are true about what teams would be willing to give up).
@Nate Dunlevy I have not read the entire CBA, am not a contract or employment lawyer and am not even barred yet for that matter, but I have gone over what I thought to be the relevant sections of the CBA and searched for a couple key terms including any permutation of negotiate.
The only clause I found limiting renegotiation of veteran of contracts stated that renegotiation within the same contract year could not raise a player's salary. That is obviously not the case here. That being said, it doesn't really matter as Manning would have to agree to moving the date back in any case and, other than a hypothetical overabundance of love for the Colts organization, he does not really have a lot of incentive to do that and definitely not beyond April under any scenario.
@Nate Dunlevy Never mind. While I still do not believe that the provisions regarding renegotiation are necessarily an obstacle (though it is something a court could go either way on), the link below (http://www.nyjetscap.com/2011_Post/manningtrade.php) brings up a very important point in that the choice of date has salary cap ramifications and that the league would probably shut down a change of date based on that issue.
As such, March 8th is almost assuredly the date.
huh??? Way too complicated but I was under the impression due to his contract and NFL CBA, Peyton couldn't be traded, only paid, released or retire.
@baglady As I understand it, it seems that the CBA would allow them to move the $28 million date. A trade is only impossible if it's made after that bonus is paid, and since the bonus is due during the current league year, and the trade deadline was hit months ago, a trade has been considered impossible. If the deadline were moved to sometime during the next season he could hypothetically be traded before the bonus is due and the new team would pay it. Still unlikely, but much more possible.
JoeB, this is the link that I based my 'no trade' comment on.
Wishful thinking maybe but I'm hoping he'll resign w/ the Colts w/ a restructured contract since it's pretty certain he'll be released. Unless too much damage has been done....