The back-and-forth between Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay and quarterback Peyton Manning has been great for the media.
The talking heads love to dissect and predict what is going to happen to Manning now that he has spent the entire season injured and a $28 million roster bonus in on the line at the beginning of next month.
I’m going to try to not go there, because you’ve heard it all before. What I want to do is go a different route with this whole conversation.
What I’m seeing between these two has drawn a parallel in my mind to a movie we saw some five years ago. It was the saga of Brett Favre.
We all remember that script. Favre retired, then realized he had no life outside of football, so he unretired and basically wanted his old job back. The Green Bay Packers wouldn’t give it to him, and the two went back and forth about it.
The drama ended with the Packers trading him to the New York Jets – somewhat. Another unretirement later he was in Minnesota trying to stick it to the Packers for what they did.
I see something similar in the way the Manning situation is playing out.
Granted, there are some differences. For example, it wasn’t about money with Favre. It was about playing. And Manning was injured, not retired last season.
But it’s clear the Colts don’t want Manning at the current price. If Manning is willing to take a significant cut in the roster bonus he would get March 1, the Colts would then be more than happy to bring him back.
(Yes, I believe Irsay when he said Wednesday he would like Manning back if Manning restructures the contract.)
But Manning won’t do that. He wants the $28 million, and he wants to play for the Colts – and likely as the starting quarterback.
The Colts will likely draft Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in April’s draft. Luck will be the Aaron Rodgers of the Colts – the guy that is being groomed to take over when the aged veteran is no longer there.
And you know that’s what’s going to happen if there isn’t any kind of movement on Manning’s side. Don’t think for a second Irsay will pay $28 million to a guy who is questionable to even play. Manning isn’t going to come back and mentor Luck.
So Irsay will be forced to release the guy who many say (correctly, of course) built the current indoor stadium the Colts play in. It’s going to be a huge public relations nightmare, but it will happen.
So I’m going to predict that once Manning is released, he’s going to want to go to a team within the AFC Central so that he can prove to the Colts they made a mistake in cutting him. How Favre-ian of him.
Can Manning still play? I don’t know. No one will know until he puts on a uniform and performs in a game, pre-season or otherwise.
But if he can, I just see this looking an awful lot like Favre and his multiple unretirements. This might get messy.