NFL Nation: Peyton Manning deal 2011

Not long after he went public with his desire to get a reasonable deal done quickly, Peyton Manning got what he asked for.

According to Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay’s tweet, Manning’s five-year deal is worth $90 million, with $69 million coming in the first three years.

Irsay said it cut the $23 million franchise tag number to a $16 million cap hit. That $7 million savings gives the Colts significant relief.

Manning said he didn’t need to be the highest paid player in the league, and the $18 million per year average matches Tom Brady.

Now the Colts will make decisions on how much to offer running back Joseph Addai and offensive lineman Charlie Johnson, the most significant remaining free agents.

The team had previously indicated it would be more interested in adding an outside free agent or two than usual if it’s possible. But that would run counter to the Colts' long-standing philosophy.

The team is thinnest at defensive tackle and linebacker, after the departure of Clint Session to Jacksonville.

Manning won’t be practicing Monday when the team kicks off camp. John McClain said the Colts are signing Dan Orlovsky, recently released by Houston, to fill out the quarterback spot with Curtis Painter and Nate Davis.

Peyton Manning conveyed a strong message to Colts owner Jim Irsay on Thursday and shared it with Mike Chappell on Friday: Spend elsewhere.
“While I appreciate Jim Irsay offering to make me the highest-paid player, I told him I’d rather he save that money and keep whoever it is . . . Joe Addai, Charlie Johnson, whoever that may be.

“I’m willing to take less than they’ve offered if they are going to take that money to keep players we need to keep and go get other players. All I want is for them to have the cap and the cash to keep the players they want to keep and to sign other players.’’

Colts fans will really like the “go get other players” part of that.

[+] EnlargePeyton Manning
Brian Spurlock/US PresswirePeyton Manning said he's "willing to take less" if the Colts are going to retain key free agents.
Manning also instructed his agent, Tom Condon, and the Colts on his desired timetable: “Today, tomorrow, definitely by Sunday.” He said rumors swirling that suggested he’d asked for as much as $25 million annually did not start with him.

The Colts report to Anderson, Ind., on Sunday and begin practicing Monday, although Manning will not be on the field at the start, as he is still recovering from neck surgery.

“I told [Irsay and Bill Polian] my cap numbers can be as low as they want them to be in being creative with the salary cap,’’ Manning said.

Tom Brady’s contract averages $18 million a year. The franchise tag number currently connected to Manning is $23 million. Even a very big long-term deal will drive that down.

The new salary cap is $120.3 million, with an additional $3 million of wiggle room.

Chappell reports veteran right tackle Ryan Diem has been asked to trim his $5.4 million salary or be released. He also wrote that the team is in discussions with Addai and Johnson.

A Manning deal that doesn’t push the limits should be able to be completed in short order. And if the Colts want to be able to pursue one or two outside free agents, there will be fewer and fewer available as they sign in the coming days.

Manning is doing the Colts a huge favor here -- he's not obligated to help them manage their cap. By doing so, he has the potential to come across as heroic while also increasing his chances of winning a second Super Bowl.

A true win-win.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

NFL SCOREBOARD

Thursday, 10/16
Sunday, 10/19
Monday, 10/20
WEEKLY LEADERS