How Peyton Manning made $249 million and retired as the highest-paid player in NFL history

Peyton Manning will announce his retirement on Monday
, ending one of the most prolific careers in NFL history.
Manning also retires as the highest-paid player in league history, and it is not even close.

While Manning is one of the best players ever and has an insane work ethic, he has also been a bit lucky to end up with $249 million in career earnings, $61 million more than any other player.

It seems silly in hindsight, but after a successful college career it was not a slam dunk that Peyton Manning was the best player available in the 1998 NFL Draft, as some thought Ryan Leaf was the better choice.

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Ryan Leaf, left, and Peyton Manning at the 1998 NFL Draft.

In the end, the Indianapolis Colts made the right decision, drafting Manning and signing him to a six-year, $47.7 million contract with an $11.6 million signing bonus.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

SOURCE: Spotrac.com

Ryan Leaf's rookie contract was worth $13.2 million over six years. He made $12.6 million from that deal and $13.0 million in his career.

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SOURCE: Spotrac.com

When Manning's rookie contract expired after the 2003 season, the Colts gave him the 'franchise tag,' which meant the promise of a one-year, $18.4 million contract to keep him from becoming a free agent.

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SOURCE: USA Today

Unlike Derek Jeter, who was lucky to be drafted by the New York Yankees, it didn't matter that Manning was playing in a small-market city, since the NFL shares television revenue.

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As a result, the Colts were able to give Manning a new seven-year, $99.2 million contract after the 2003 season.

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SOURCE: Spotrac.com

That contract included a $34.5 million signing bonus, the largest ever in the NFL at the time. Manning was 27 years old.

Manning would ultimately make $94.7 million with his second contract with his annual salary and bonuses reaching $19.3 million in 2010.

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SOURCE: Spotrac.com

At the time of the signing, Manning thought he would spend the rest of his career in Indianapolis.

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SOURCE: ESPN.com

The contract expired after the 2010 season when Manning hit all the necessary playing-time incentives. Colts owner Jim Irsay promised to give Manning the biggest contract in NFL history.

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SOURCE: ESPN.com

At the time, there was great debate over whether Manning deserved a higher average annual salary than Tom Brady, who had recently signed a four-year, $72 million deal.

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After the 2010 season, the Colts once again gave Manning the franchise tag as the uncertainty of the impending lockout loomed.

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But five days after the lockout ended, Manning signed a new five-year, $90 million contract.

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But that contract lasted just one year, as Manning missed the 2011 season following neck surgery and the Colts were faced with having to pay Manning a $28 million bonus if they kept him for the 2012 season.

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Manning left the Colts having already made $171.7 million in 14 seasons with one Super Bowl win.

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SOURCE: Spotrac.com

A free agent for the first time, Manning ultimately signed a five-year, $96 million contract with the Denver Broncos with no signing bonus and only $18 million guaranteed.

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SOURCE: ProFootballTalk.com

Before signing the deal, Manning was actually furious at his agent for negotiating a deal that was bigger than Tom Brady's contract.

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From Peter King of theMMQB.com:

'When Manning picked Denver, he simply asked Condon:

'What does Tom Brady make?'

'$18 million a year.'

'Then I don't want to make a penny more than that.'

Condon's visions of a $25 million a year deal were dashed, although the Broncos' opening offer was $19.4 million a year. Condon phoned to tell Manning, who was incensed:

'I told you I didn't want to make more than Brady!'

Condon apologised, hung up and called Manning's wife, who responded, 'I'll take care of it,' and coaxed Manning to accept the Broncos' offer.'

By the end of this season, Manning will have made $247 million, $61 million more than the second-highest-paid player, his brother, Eli Manning. Peyton is also more than $85 million ahead of Tom Brady.

Cork Gaines/Business Insider

Manning's final payday was a $2 million bonus he took home for winning Super Bowl 50, bringing his total pay for this season to $19 million.

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