Colts’ Owner Irsay Says Team Will Break Bank To Retain Peyton Manning

In what has to be one of the least difficult front office personnel decisions in sports history, Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay has confirmed that the team will sign quarterback Peyton Manning to a contract extension that could make him the highest paid player in NFL history. Manning’s current deal will expire after the end of the 2010 season, with the final two years having been voided due to his meeting a number of performance based criteria.

You can tell that an owner is adamant about resigning a player when he tells the media that he wants to make him the highest paid player in league history, and Irsay did just that at the NFL’s Superbowl media day on Monday:

“You know it’s going to get done. I think it’s clear, and we’ll start on it this summer. That’s been the way we do things [to hammer out an extension when a player is entering the final year of his contract]. And it’ll be the biggest [contract] in history; there’s not much doubt about that.”

Not exactly the most advantageous negotiating position to make public that you’re committed to breaking the bank to resign a player. Then again, it’s not like Manning is a quarterback that can easily be replaced as Irsay emphasized:

“It simply comes to one question, and that’s replaceability. Everything is based on the replaceability factor. You make decisions based on who you can afford to target and keep. … Other guys you really want to [re-sign] you might have trouble doing it, because of what it costs you, and how much attention they’re getting [from other teams in free agency]. We don’t have that luxury and we’ve had to work hard.”

Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, has already had preliminary discussions with the Colts’ management about a new deal. Condon also represent’s Peyton’s brother Eli Manning, and negotiated a $97.5 million contract extension from the New York Giants for him last year. Peyton’s contract will almost certainly exceed those figures, with some speculating that he could receive $20 million per year with a $50 million signing bonus up front.

Ross Everett is a widely published freelance writer and respected authority on football betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sports news and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Las Vegas with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.