When it comes to the Indianapolis Colts' biggest offseason priority, owner Jim Irsay wants to operate quickly and quietly.
And as far as Peyton Manning's future? Irsay said there's no doubt:
Manning will remain with the team.
Manning, the Colts' 11-time Pro Bowl quarterback and a four-time Associated Press Most Valuable Player, is one of 22 Colts players with contracts scheduled to expire in the coming weeks. But Irsay told Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star this week he hopes to have a new contract with Manning done by March 3.
"I look for it to get quietly done," Irsay said Tuesday. "This is a very rare situation in terms of a player and his legacy and what he means to the team, what he means to me personally."
I assume that by getting this done 'quietly' Irsay means he doesn't want either side using the press to leverage for demands. The significance of getting this deal done before March 3rd is that is when the current NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement ends. One possible way to avoid a lockout is for the Players' Union to see Peyton get what will likely be the most lucrative contract in NFL history.
That contract will become 'the ceiling' for all subsequent contracts, and it will give the players a place to negotiate from.