This past weekend, Colts president Bill Polian (an avid baseball fan, I'm told) took time out of his busy schedule to stop by Fenway Park in Boston. There, WEEI Sportsradio Network's Rob Bradford managed to get the Big Redhead to talk about Peyton Manning's contract negotiations and the effect signing Peyton to a uber-giganto contract would have on the league:
"It’s bound to have some effect," Polian told WEEI.com. "What we don’t know is what the system is going forward. It makes it really difficult working out a deal that makes sense for everybody because you don’t know what the [salary] cap will be, what the ramifications are, how things count. All of that makes it a little difficult. We’ve been going slowly along with [Manning's agent] Tom Condon because we’re trying to formulate some things that will fit no matter what the system is."
Bottom line is we probably won't see a new Manning contract until we see a new collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA expire March 2011, which means it's unlikely the Colts will have Manning locked-up for the rest of his NFL career this season.
Bill Polian helped craft the salary cap rules in the 1990s, and he has made it known that he wants the salary cap to return, and from a fan's perspective I agree with him. The lack of overall, balanced competition in leagues like the MLB and the "soft cap" silliness of the NBA show us what the future of the NFL could be without a cap. Revenue sharing is also a vital piece of that puzzle, a piece that small markets like the Colts rely on to remain competitive against large markets like New York, Dallas, and San Francisco.
For the Colts, it only makes sense to get a final deal done with Manning after the new CBA is approved. Hopefully, that new CBA should contain a hard cap because anything less likely destroys the great game of professional football. Until then, the two sides are ironing out the details on things that do not require a CBA to do.
On a side note, as I have
screamed pontificated on all off-season, it's pretty clear Peyton is not happy with his current deal and wants a new one. Yet, despite the absence of a new deal this year, Peyton still attended OTAs, mandatory mini-camp, and he plans to be there for day one of training camp in roughly three weeks. This attitude is in stark contrast to Robert Mathis and Reggie Wayne. Like Peyton, these two want new deals. Unlike Peyton, they skipped out on OTAs, ditched mandatory mini-camp, likely received fines for their absence, and created an unnecessary distraction by not showing up for work they are contractually obligated to do.
I love Reggie and Robert in general. They are two of my favorite Colts. But, they handled this off-season very poorly, and if their play in 2011 is not as effective, I think we all know the likely reason why. Hopefully, that won't happen.