While many are still trying to determine the full ramifications of the NFL’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement, one is becoming very clear. It is causing a rift between the Indianapolis Colts and the league’s golden boy, Peyton Manning.
Prior to the lockout, Manning was given the Franchise Tag as the two sides attempted to workout a long-term deal. If an extension cannot be agreed upon, Manning will receive $23.1 million this season.
It is believed that the Colts are offering Manning $20 million per season. But Manning may be holding out for $25 million. But with the new CBA and the $120 million salary cap, that would require the Colts to commit more than 20 per cent of their cap space to a single player.
And colts owner Jim Irsay says that cannot happen. “There’s only so much you can pay one player. Whatever the number is, $20 million, you’re topping off there. Then it becomes very difficult to be competitive and to field a team,” said Irsay.
Complicating matters is a report that Manning wants to be exempt from the Franchise Tag as part of the settlement for the lawsuit against the league. This was the same lifetime exemption given to the plaintiffs (e.g. Reggie White) in the lawsuit during the 1993 labour negotiation.
Manning is 35, and he is looking for one last big payday. But he is also putting his team in a tough situation because of the new CBA that he helped implement.
If Manning forces the Colts into giving him more money, and that forces the team to cut other key members of the squad, it will be interesting to see if Manning continues to shine as brightly around the NFL.
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