Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay called a press conference on Thursday to discuss his star quarterback and the team's aspirations to lock Peyton Manning up to a long-term contract. The Colts chose to place the franchise tag on Manning on Tuesday, ensure the veteran signal caller will remain with the team in 2011 while giving the Colts a chance to work out a deal that could keep Manning in an Indianapolis uniform until he retires.
"I would like to see something get done before then," Irsay said. "But there's two sides to the negotiations, so either side can only go as fast as the other side. The sooner, the better yes. But if it doesn't get done before then, we can get things done this summer."
Though he didn't offer a dollar amount, Irsay said he's well aware what New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is making and has offered more than that to Manning. Because of the looming lockout and high price that comes with using the franchise tag on the quarterback, Irsay has ever reason to get a contract worked out soon, as well. The Colts' hands are tied without a long-term deal, and the cap relief that comes along with it, worked out with Manning, making the negotiations Irsay's top priority.
However, both sides are going to continue to work on a long-term deal. Manning's contract is expected to be among the largest we've ever seen in the NFL which means they may want to wait until a new labor deal is worked out between the NFL owners and players.
The 2011 franchise tag number is expected to be just under $16 million. Because Manning made more than that in 2010 (just over $19 million), he will receive 120 percent of his 2010 salary. That means he'll receive over $23 million in 2011 under the franchise tag.
The Colts are using the franchise tag as it was intended here. This buys them some time to wait out a new labor deal, or simply more time to work on a long-term contract with Manning. The bottomline is that he's not going anywhere.
To see what Colts fans are saying, check out SB Nation's Stampede Blue.
The use of the franchise tag in the NFL is a tricky topic these days with the current Collective Bargaining Agreement set to expire in the first week of March. The NFL has told teams it can start using the franchise tag from February 10 to February 24, which would be business as usual. The NFLPA, though, says the franchise tag is meaningless without a new CBA.
So we're not exactly sure how this will turn out but teams are expected to use the franchise tag starting on Thursday whether it's still good next year or not.
One of the teams some think will use the franchise tag is the Indianapolis Colts. They've previously said they will use it on QB Peyton Manning, who is in the final year of his contract, if necessary. With the labor issues possibly shutting down the idea of a longterm extension, the tag may be necessary for them.
The Colts have also said previously that Manning will be the highest paid player in the game. Folks often compare his contract situation to that of New England Patriots QB Tom Brady, who signed a four-year, $72 million contract last season.
Manning will turn 35 years old next month, which is old in the NFL world, but he's still playing at a high level. Even if he's franchised, Manning is still expected to sign a long-term deal with the Colts at some point.
The exact amount of the franchise tag for quarterbacks isn't yet confirmed but Manning's 2010 salary will push his number to about $23 million.
Check out Stampede Blue for more on the possibility of the franchise tag for the Colts.