With the offseason now officially here, Peyton Manning Watch will begin. Most are familiar with the situation. He is due a $28 million bonus. As such, combined with his recovering from neck surgery, it looks likely that the Indianapolis Colts will release him before the March 8 date when he is due that money. If that happens, there will be a bunch of interested teams, reportedly including the Arizona Cardinals.
One thing that could be a concern for teams is the contract they would have to offer him to get him to their team. However, it is being reported by ESPN that Manning is willing to work out a contract that includes little or no up-front, guaranteed money.
Says the ESPN report:
Manning is completely open to creating a contract in which he would be paid little or no guaranteed money up front and he would have to earn every cent he makes strictly through performance, according to sources.
An example of how it would work is that Manning's contract could wind up having a big roster bonus due on the first day of the season, and another big bonus based on the number of games he starts in a season. It is a formula that can be used for the length of the contract, limiting the amount of guaranteed money paid up front and ensuring that Manning would have to play to earn his pay.
This is exactly the type of player that teams will want. Manning will be hungry -- ready to prove he is not done. He is willing to take the financial hit if he is unable to play. That says a lot about he confidence he has in his ability to come back.
If the Cardinals have a chance to acquire him, this is the most telling sign so far that it will be a good move. If they can sign him, they are going to get a guy ready to play at a high level.
Such a contract may also make it possible for the the team to be able to keep Kevin Kolb around if that is something they wish to do. That might not happen, but at least there might be the flexibility financially to pull it off in the case Manning is not ready to start the season.
In a nutshell, it looks more and more like a no-brainer for the Cardinals. They need to pursue him when that time comes.
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