Adam Schefter created a new stir amongst Colts fans today with his tweet that “Peyton Manning is willing to create a contract that would contain no guaranteed money up front and would be incentive laden with bonuses.” Unfortunately, this is likely to serve as more salt in the wounds of those who would rather Jim Irsay retain Manning in Indy. To recap where we are: Peyton is not yet healthy enough to play.
The biggest reason I am convinced of this is because of what Tom Condon (Manning’s agent) didn’t say in his interview with the NFL Network. Condon talked a lot about Manning being “structurally sound” and making “substantial progress” in his rehabilitation. What he didn’t say was that Manning is slinging the football around, ready – or on the verge of being ready – to play. Asked directly, Condon said he “didn’t know” when Manning would be back to his own standard. So the man with the biggest incentive for Manning to earn his next contract (other than Manning himself) is either underselling his client’s health – and thus undermining his own ability to earn a big commission – or being brutally honest about where Manning is. The latter is more likely – teams will see soon enough how far Manning has progressed and Condon would stand to lose a lot by lying about Manning’s health. Another reason I am convinced Peyton is not yet healthy enough to play is that if he were, he wouldn’t be leaking tidbits to ESPN about the doctors clearing him to resume his NFL career… he would be leaking the location of his throwing workouts with teammates Anthony Gonzalez and Blair White. He would allow people to “secretly” record his sessions and post them to the internet.
Now on to why Peyton can’t go back…. Imagine you’re in a relationship with someone and learn that they have been heavily flirting with someone younger and – uh – healthier? Imagine you’re in a relationship with someone and they are telling others that they essentially don’t have confidence in your ability to – uh – perform? Even worse, what if you proposed to your mate, s/he said yes despite your shortcomings, and then later broke off the engagement citing your shortcomings as the primary reason? Ok, so these are REALLY bad analogies, but can trust be maintained in these scenarios? In this case, a nice contract for Manning and a return to winning ways for the Colts would heal a lot of wounds, but it’s just not likely.