Colts’ Polian: ‘No deadline’ on Peyton Manning contract talks

ANDERSON, Ind. — Like the long-running chicken-or-egg conundrum, everyone in the NFL is wondering what will happen first: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning gets a new contract or the league gets a new collective bargaining agreement.
 
Peyton Manning enters the final year of his Colts contract.
Peyton Manning enters the final year of his Colts contract.

If you’re predisposed to gambling, bet on Manning. Not that Colts president Bill Polian, team owner Jim Irsay or Manning’s agent, Tom Condon is ready to show his hand.

 
"It could happen, sure," Polian said as he sat in a golf cart and watched a special teams practice at training camp Thursday afternoon. "There’s no deadline, there’s no timeline. Jim never said there was, I’ve never said there was, Tom Condon has never said that there was."
 
Perhaps, but you know the Colts aren’t going to allow the NFL’s only four-time MVP to dangle without a contract. The seven-year, $98 million contract (including a $35.5 million guaranteed bonus) Manning signed in March 2004 — at the time, a landmark deal in the NFL — expires at the end of this season.
 
Manning will have a new contract shortly after the season ends — if not before. Polian said he talks to Condon regularly, and Manning is often the subject of their conversations.
 
"Sure, I talk to him all the time," Polian said, adding that he and Condon have ongoing discussion about Manning’s contract situation. "There has, and there will be (continued talk)."
 
Manning isn’t the only premier quarterback whose contract will end after the season. Tom Brady, who signed a six-year extension worth about $60 million with the Patriots in 2005, also is seeking a new deal.
 
Irsay acknowledged the Manning-Brady parallel when he spoke to reporters on media day at the Super Bowl last February.
 
Bill Polian: "There's no deadline, there's no timeline."
Bill Polian: “There’s no deadline, there’s no timeline.”

"Those two guys are kind of tied at the hip, so to speak, in terms of how they’re viewed as outstanding players in this league," Irsay said.

"(Brady’s) up at the same time, and there’s no question that those guys are comparable in terms of what they’ll be getting paid."
 
There has been speculation that Irsay said the Colts were ready to "break the bank" to pay Manning, but Polian disputes that. "I’m not sure he said that," Polian said. "I didn’t hear that."
 
But wouldn’t Polian agree that Manning is the top player in the league? "He certainly is among the top four or five," Polian said. "I don’t get into (that). I can’t tell you who the greatest players of all time are. I could take a guess on the top 100 — I’m probably old enough to see 75 of them and have an opinion — but I don’t get into who’s the best. It’s in the eye of the beholder."
 
The Manning contract isn’t the only fiscal issue on Polian’s plate. Wide receiver Reggie Wayne and defensive end Robert Mathis have two years left on their deals, but both players skipped the Colts’ offseason workouts and minicamps as signs they aren’t happy with their contract situations.
 
Can the Colts give Manning his proper due and still have enough money in their coffers to satisfy some of the team’s best supporting cast members and keep the talent together?
 
"We’ve done it for 13 years," Polian said, "so my presumption is we can continue to do it."
 
Polian said he and Manning talk every year at the end of spring. This year, Polian told Manning what his timeline was on a new contract for the quarterback. Polian declined to reveal what that timeline is. "That’s a private conversation," Polian said.
 
Yes, but it’s one everyone in the NFL is wishing would be made public.
 
This story appears in Aug. 13’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only digital sports daily, sign up today.
 
Senior writer Dennis Dillon covers the NFL for Sporting News. E-mail him at ddillon@sportingnews.com.
ANDERSON, Ind. — Like the long-running chicken-or-egg conundrum, everyone in the NFL is wondering what will happen first: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning gets a new contract or the league gets a new collective bargaining agreement.
 
Peyton Manning enters the final year of his Colts contract.
Peyton Manning enters the final year of his Colts contract.

If you’re predisposed to gambling, bet on Manning. Not that Colts president Bill Polian, team owner Jim Irsay or Manning’s agent, Tom Condon is ready to show his hand.

 
"It could happen, sure," Polian said as he sat in a golf cart and watched a special teams practice at training camp Thursday afternoon. "There’s no deadline, there’s no timeline. Jim never said there was, I’ve never said there was, Tom Condon has never said that there was."
 
Perhaps, but you know the Colts aren’t going to allow the NFL’s only four-time MVP to dangle without a contract. The seven-year, $98 million contract (including a $35.5 million guaranteed bonus) Manning signed in March 2004 — at the time, a landmark deal in the NFL — expires at the end of this season.
 
Manning will have a new contract shortly after the season ends — if not before. Polian said he talks to Condon regularly, and Manning is often the subject of their conversations.
 
"Sure, I talk to him all the time," Polian said, adding that he and Condon have ongoing discussion about Manning’s contract situation. "There has, and there will be (continued talk)."
 
Manning isn’t the only premier quarterback whose contract will end after the season. Tom Brady, who signed a six-year extension worth about $60 million with the Patriots in 2005, also is seeking a new deal.
 
Irsay acknowledged the Manning-Brady parallel when he spoke to reporters on media day at the Super Bowl last February.
 
Bill Polian: "There's no deadline, there's no timeline."
Bill Polian: “There’s no deadline, there’s no timeline.”

"Those two guys are kind of tied at the hip, so to speak, in terms of how they’re viewed as outstanding players in this league," Irsay said.

"(Brady’s) up at the same time, and there’s no question that those guys are comparable in terms of what they’ll be getting paid."
 
There has been speculation that Irsay said the Colts were ready to "break the bank" to pay Manning, but Polian disputes that. "I’m not sure he said that," Polian said. "I didn’t hear that."
 
But wouldn’t Polian agree that Manning is the top player in the league? "He certainly is among the top four or five," Polian said. "I don’t get into (that). I can’t tell you who the greatest players of all time are. I could take a guess on the top 100 — I’m probably old enough to see 75 of them and have an opinion — but I don’t get into who’s the best. It’s in the eye of the beholder."
 
The Manning contract isn’t the only fiscal issue on Polian’s plate. Wide receiver Reggie Wayne and defensive end Robert Mathis have two years left on their deals, but both players skipped the Colts’ offseason workouts and minicamps as signs they aren’t happy with their contract situations.
 
Can the Colts give Manning his proper due and still have enough money in their coffers to satisfy some of the team’s best supporting cast members and keep the talent together?
 
"We’ve done it for 13 years," Polian said, "so my presumption is we can continue to do it."
 
Polian said he and Manning talk every year at the end of spring. This year, Polian told Manning what his timeline was on a new contract for the quarterback. Polian declined to reveal what that timeline is. "That’s a private conversation," Polian said.
 
Yes, but it’s one everyone in the NFL is wishing would be made public.
 
This story appears in Aug. 13’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only digital sports daily, sign up today.
 
Senior writer Dennis Dillon covers the NFL for Sporting News. E-mail him at ddillon@sportingnews.com.

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