NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 21: Indianapolis Colts NFL team owner Jim Irsay address the media at the Roosevelt Hotelon March 21, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite a NFL owners imposed lockout in effect since March 12, the league is conducting it's annual owners meeting in New Orleans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
At the owners meeting, some reporters caught up with a noticeably more visible Jim Irsay. When asked why Peyton Manning did not sign an agreement with the Indianapolis Colts prior to the owners locking out the players two weeks ago, Irsay had some, shall we say, terse-sounding words for Peyton's agent, Tom Condon:
"It should get done," Irsay said Monday at the NFL Annual Meeting in New Orleans, according to Comcast SportsNet New England. "If you ask me, it should have gotten done. You'll have to ask (Manning's agent) Tom Condon why it's not done."
"(Peyton had) always said, 'It's not about money to me, it's not about how much money I make. It's about making sure we have a great team, making sure I'm surrounded by other players that can be re-signed,'" Irsay told NFL Network's Albert Breer. "The Pierre Garcons, the Austin Collies. The young guys that make the difference.
"The money's there," Irsay added. "I'm already offering more than any player's being paid in the league. So why wouldn't it get done?"
If Jim Irsay wants an answer to that last question, all he has to do is look at the plaintiffs listed in the NFLPA's antitrust lawsuit against him and the 31 other NFL owners.
Listen, Jim Irsay is no dummy. He knows that the reason Manning didn't sign the agreement was because of the labor standoff. If Manning signs, and then weeks later he sues the owner who just paid him a gazillion dollars, the NFLPA's position looks weak and hypocritical. It is certainly no coincidence that the players listed as plaintiffs on the antitrust suit are a mix of high priced veterans (Tom Brady, Drew Brees), unsigned, potential rookies (Von Miller) and superstar free agents (Peyton Manning).
By having Manning listed as a plaintiff, and with a player of his enormous status currently sitting in limbo a free agent, it sends a message of just how ridiculous the owners lockout is. Again, that's what the NFLPA is hoping for. It's what Peyton Manning is hoping for.
As we've often tried to convey to all of you, right now people like Peyton, Jeff Saturday, and Robert Mathis do not care about the Colts championship chances in 2011. Their single goal is a better CBA for their union. Nothing else.
Thus, anyone saying Peyton should 'sign to help the Colts' is an ignorant person who doesn't understand the current circumstances. Peyton has, pretty clearly, thrown in his lot with the union. His center, Jeff Saturday, is a major figure in union negotiations. Jim Irsay knows this, which makes Irsays comments about Tom Condon all the more baffling.
It's about the union, folks. Not money or greed on Peyton's part. The money will come after the new CBA is settled on, be that settlement through talks or litigation (likely litigation).