Credit to radtad for first linking this story in a FanPost. According to Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, the Colts have met face-to-face with Peyton Manning and presented a contract proposal to their Pro Bowl quarterback.
According to sources, the offer (unsurprisingly) is more lucrative than the four-year, $72 million dollar (with $48.5 million guaranteed) contract offered to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. We already assumed that would be the case, as is evidenced by this article.
Reportedly, Colts president Bill Polian is attempting to offer Manning a deal based around a five-year time frame that would allow the Colts the financial flexibility to surround Manning with some significant free agent talent. To quote ESPN:
Sources say team president Bill Polian presented a pitch Thursday that the Colts want more cash flow to build the talent around Manning with a more aggressive offseason that could include a few key free agent signings. Even though the Colts will remain a franchise that builds around the draft, they have signed just four free agents since Manning signed his last $98 million contract in 2004.
If the Colts can come to an agreement with Manning and if a new collective bargaining agreement is in fact negotiated, we very well could see an unusual offseason sight in Indianapolis: a free agent spending spree. It's worth noting, in that case, that there are a few high profile free agents that will potentially be available on the open market in some Indianapolis areas of need, included but not limited to: Patriots guard Logan Mankins, Cowboys tackle Doug Free, Seahawks defensive tackle Brandon Mebane and Baltimore safety Dawan Landry.
The team is working with a March 3 deadline to get this deal done, so look for an announcement sometime in February. Manning will be the league's highest-paid quarterback -- for how long is anyone's guess -- but key to this contract will be literature. The Colts will have to structure it so that it allows them to add some pieces to compliment Manning and set the team up for some serious title runs down the home stretch of Manning's illustrious career.