Peyton Manning is just one man but his contract could help us understand the future of the NFL as we know it. Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports has an interesting article that details why the Manning contract -- he's entering his final year -- could determine future negotiations between the league and the players regarding a new CBA.
“If Manning [of the Indianapolis Colts] doesn’t get the kind of contract we all expect or, worse, doesn’t get a deal done at all, that really means it’s going to be war,” an agent said last week. “There has never been a player with more leverage than him. No one. If he can’t get a deal done at his price, we’re all in trouble.”
The point is essentially that if Manning -- about as perfect of a player as they come -- can't set a new bar in terms of money per year, then the owners flat-out won't be spending enough money, which would cause the players to dig in their heels at the negotiating table.
The Manning deal is expected to be completed sometime before the start of the season and he's expected to be the highest paid player in the NFL.