The Indianapolis Colts have started negotiations with Peyton Manning that will likely make the superstar quarterback the highest-paid player in the history of the NFL.
Manning’s current $98-million deal he is expiring. When he signed it in 2004, it was (at the time) one of the biggest NFL contracts in history.
Colts owner Jim Irsay had repeatedly said he wants to keep Manning in a Colt uniform for the remainder of his career.
I'm not going to get into any specifics in terms of the negotiations, but I've said before this is an unusual situation, Irsay told AP. It's not a normal negotiation, his legacy and our relationship, it's very unusual. You hope it happens a lot, but it doesn't.
However, Manning, a guaranteed first-ballot Hall of Famer and the only player ever to win four MVP awards, is now 34 years old (turning 35 in March) and may be entering the downside of his career, raising questions about how long a contract he will actually receive.
In addition, there is some confusion over who is actually the highest paid NFL player now.
Since Manning signed his 2004 contract, four other high-profile quarterbacks -- Michael Vick, Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger and Donovan McNabb – all agreed to deals that amounted to at least $100-million (though each had terms longer than Manning’s). In addition, confusing things even more, Vick's record $130 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons was subsequently voided in connection with his conviction on dog-fighting charges.
Moreover, in terms of average annual salary, New England Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady signed a four-year contract last year that nets him $18-million annually (the highest such current figure). Manning’s brother Eli of the New York Giants inked a six-year pact that pays him $16.25-million per year.
Regardless of what kind of contract Manning signs for, he will likely break the $20-million-per-year barrier.