Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay is committed to retaining the league's only four-time MVP. His current contract — a six-year, $98 million deal signed in 2004 — expires at the end of the 2010 season.
Manning has declined to talk about his contract status over the last month. Recently, Tom Condon, Manning's agent, and Colts president Bill Polian took a similar stance.
In an interview with a Boston radio station, Polian indicated a new deal for Manning might come later rather than sooner because of the ongoing negotiations between the NFL and the NFLPA over a new collective bargaining agreement. If owners and the players union can't hammer out a deal, a lockout could threaten the 2011 season.
"We've been going slowly along with Tom Condon because we're trying to formulate some things that will fit no matter what the [new] system is," Polian said. "We can't get into the nitty-gritty because we don't know what the rules will be.
"It's not like you're going to get (a new CBA) in October, I don't think. If that happens, it would be great. But at least you can get a feel for the way things are going."
It's possible Manning's new contract won't be finalized until after the season. That happened in 2004 when his rookie contract expired. The Colts first used the franchise tag on Manning, then signed him to a long-term deal. Whatever the NFL landscape is, his new contract could average $20 million a season and include $50 million guaranteed.
He would leapfrog younger brother Eli as the league's highest-paid player. Eli, the New York Giants quarterback and another Condon client, signed a package in 2009 that averages $16.25 million a season.
"We're working through the timing," Irsay said. "It's not only [about] keeping Peyton going forward, but being able to surround him with the right people. We need both."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "To be honest, I don't know one thing about it. The first one (Peyton Manning's rookie contract in 1998), Peyton asked me to be involved, and I was. They don't do that anymore. Peyton's 34 years old and he's had experience at this. I don't stick my nose in it." — Former NFL quarterback Archie Manning on the details concerning his son's contract negotiations with the Indianapolis Colts.
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