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Monday, July 25, 2011
Manning deal will be difficult, but doable

By Paul Kuharsky

Some will view Jim Irsay’s comments on the limitations for a new Peyton Manning contract as posturing.

Manning
Manning
While they might serve that purpose, there is something else to note about them: They are true.

If the Colts pay Manning somewhere between $20 million and $25 million annually, they’ll hurt their ability to build a roster around him and to contend in his remaining years.

Now, that doesn’t mean I come down on the other side, either, with the extremists who believe Manning should play for the minimum to maximize his team’s chances to win. He’s not the Colts' accountant or salary-cap guy; he’s in prime earning years and he should get what he can.

At the same time, Irsay and Bill Polian need to make sure they make things as favorable as they can even with the promise that Manning will become the league’s top-paid player.

It’s doable.

That league cap number will rise down the road, especially when there are new TV deals. So a contract that averages $20 million or $25 million annually will be more palatable later. What both sides will need is a structure they can agree on that will allow for an average that can be based on larger cap numbers later.

But that’s a sportswriter talking, not a Colts accountant or a big-time agent representing a four-time MVP.