While the terms of the two-year contract are not completely available yet, what we do know is that Kerry Collins will make $4 million in 2011 alone. This kind of price-tag certainly gives the impression that the team believes Collins will need to take the field.
It is the biggest single-year contract for a backup quarterback behind a premier veteran by a long-shot. The only other backup quarterbacks who make that kind of money and do not have any guarantee to start and play during the regular season are usually behind starters with significant injury histories or on teams without the starting spot locked down. Some quarterbacks are around on sizable rookie contracts, like Tim Tebow in Denver, but that certainly doesn’t mean he’s going to start or play — but Tebow’s situation is drastically different from the Collins signing.
Until the team makes an official announcement one way or the other on Manning’s short-term or long-term future, shares information about what is going on with his injury that has set him back or may keep him out enough to justify this kind of salary for a backup, Colts fans will rightly be concerned that the actions from the front office indicate rather strongly that the likelihood Manning misses time at the start of the regular season is increasing.
The problem continues to be that none of this makes any sense. If the front office really managed to botch the handling of Manning’s surgery, recovery, and backup plans if things should go sour — and they certainly should have been monitoring the situation closely — there is no excuse. Then again, it is worth noting that the NFL lockout kept players from meeting with their respective teams. Is it possible that the organization has only had the last three or so weeks for meaningful diagnosis and progress reports? Something just doesn’t add up.
If the lockout did keep the team in the dark and did make it difficult to make any official determinations regarding Manning’s ability to play at the beginning of the regular season, it will illustrate completely why Manning was so frustrated. Some people called him a whiner for his handling of the situation and complaining that he could not meet with team personnel, people he has an established medical relationship with… maybe those people should reconsider their statements if the lockout in any way has led Manning and the Colts to the point they’re at today.
If there is any question as to who will be the starter if Manning can’t go, Bill Polian answered them when he spoke to IndyStar.com’s Mike Chappell earlier today.
Vice chairman Bill Polian said Collins, not incumbent backup Curtis Painter, will start against the Texans if Manning’s ongoing rehabilitation from May 23 neck surgery spills into the regular season.
“All he has to do is get physically ready,” Polian said. “There’s no offense he can’t master in 48 hours from a conceptual standpoint.”