Peyton Manning will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and will undoubtedly break the bank. It goes without saying that Peyton will become the highest paid player in football, but exactly how much is a Peyton worth?
I was speaking to a good friend of mine and he threw out a number that I'm still trying to wrap my hands around. "Peyton Manning is going to get $100,000,000 in guaranteed money," he said. From a player's and agent's perspective the logic was sound.
1. Peyton Manning is the undisputed leader and face of the Indianapolis Colts franchise.
2. Peyton Manning is the face of the NFL.
3. Peyton Manning is durable, almost Brett Favre like.
4. Peyton Manning is the epitome of a role model when the concept really no longer exists.
5. Peyton Manning is marketable beyond belief.
6. Peyton Manning is a 4 time MVP, the best quarterback today, and arguably the best ever.
7. Sam Bradford and Tom Brady have already set the bar at $50,000,000 guaranteed.
8. Peyton Manning gives Indianapolis, Indiana a relevance it never had before Peyton's arrival and will never have again after his departure.
I heard what my friend was saying, but the number was mind boggling. From an owners perspective the logic was flawed.
1. No one player is worth $100,000,000 guaranteed in a sport where any play could be your last.
2. Peyton Manning is 30+ and his skills (if even slightly) will start to diminish in a few years.
3. Peyton Manning is 30+, susceptible to injury, and his bounce back time will be significantly slower.
4. 100,000,000 in guaranteed money restricts the team's flexibility in terms of free agency and the salary cap.
5. $100,000,000 sets a dangerous precedence.
6. Everything has to go perfect for this investment to pencil out.
7. The sport itself is too dangerous to guarantee that much money.
After weighing the pros and cons of the argument (and both sides were compelling) I wouldn't be surprised if Peyton Manning got $100,000,000 guaranteed, but I think the compromise will be a little less. Although Peyton Manning is an unrestricted free agent he has no intentions of ever leaving Indianapolis. The Colts are the only franchise he's ever known and he practically runs the organization. There is no doubt someone would give him the $100,000,000 but does he really want to start all over again in Detroit, Cincinnati, or Miami? The Colts have been loyal to him and his market value is somewhat predicated by what desperate teams would give to land a football god. In the end the hometown team gets a discount. My guess as to how much guaranteed money Peyton Manning gets? $70,000,000. My conscience won't allow the number to go any higher.