Just when you were starting to breath easy regarding the new proposed collective bargaining agreement, especially the notion that franchise tags applied prior to the lockout would be honored once the lockout is lifted, Mike Florio at PFT comes in and pours gasoline on your campfire.
Per multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, but who have requested anonymity . . . yada, yada, yada . . . sensitivity of the situation . . . yada, yada, yada . . . confidentiality of the settlement talks, the agency that represents Manning and Brees is pushing for both players to be exempt from the application of the franchise tag. If CAA is successful, Manning would be in position to squeeze the Colts for a monstrous contract — even more monstrous than the one he’ll get even if the franchise tag is applied.
CAA is the talent agency that represents Peyton (it stands for Creative Artists Agency). CAA reps many A-List movie stars, including Brad Pitt and George Clooney. The agency expanded into sports in 2006, and it's strong connections with Hollywood are the reason why we see Peyton in advertisements like this.
Now, before people freak out and start ranting about Peyton being 'greedy,' stop for a moment and think. Professional football is not a game. It is a sports entertainment business. If this lockout didn't teach you that simple, hard fact, then you're just deluded. Peyton Manning is pro football's best and most marketable figure. If he is able to get the maximum value he is truly worth in his next (and last) NFL contract, this will elevate the ceiling for contracts of several other players in the league, such as Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees.
It is for this reason that Peyton did not sign the offer given to him prior to the lockout. He knew he could get more post-lockout, and by getting more he was not only helping himself financially, but members of his (decertified) union as well.
This isn't about giving a 'home discount' to the Colts so they can make the team better. That is the logic of simpletons who fail to understand this is a business, and when you look at the math, Peyton Manning was giving Indianapolis a HUGE discount the last three to four years. No one wins more with less than Peyton, and he's worth every penny he's given.
Thus, he and the agency that reps him are perfectly within their rights to push to be exempt from the franchise tag in 2011 because Peyton was a named plaintiff in the Tom Brady v. NFL case. Nearly two decades ago, when the late-Reggie White was a named plaintiff in the last players suit against the league, he was made exempt when the new CBA was agreed upon. He used that to become a free agent and signed with the Green Bay Packers. The rest is history.
Again, this is a business, folks. Peyton is going to do whatever he can to achieve the maximum value in his next NFL contract. Peyton knows that, without him, the Indianapolis Colts simply do not exist as a franchise. Without Peyton Manning, the Colts become as seemingly irrelevant as the Pacers. If you don't believe me, I'll point you to this article and remind you that, prior to 1998, less than 1% of the responders to most Harris polls considered themselves Colts fans. Since 2006, that number has jumped up to 8%. When Peyton retires, that number will plummet back down.
Prior to Peyton, there was no Lucas Oil Stadium. The old RCA Dome was half full on Sundays. Fans sat with their arms crossed in the bleachers, standing only when they needed to go to the bathroom. Hardly anyone had a jersey on, and the talk around town wasn't when the team was going to win a Super Bowl, but when the team was going to pack its bags and move to Los Angeles. All that changed when No. 18 was drafted.
Peyton knows this.
Bill Polian knows this.
Jim Irsay knows this.
Thus, Peyton will use that knowledge to leverage as much as he can for the simple reason that he has earned it. Anyone saying he hasn't, or anyone saying he should take less for 'the good of the team' is someone whose mind is not set in the reality of the modern sports entertainment business world.