It’s simple economics. Forget the arguments about trading about a 36 year old QB who has a fused neck and hasn’t played in a year. Forget the argument about giving up a boat load of picks for a player that’ll only be there for a couple years. None of that matters.
The truth here is that Peyton Manning’s contract is not movable. If he’s healthy, he’s either released, and soon, or he’s going to be a Colt in 2012.
Manning is due a $28 million dollar bonus check on March 3rd. The soonest that Peyton can be traded is 10 days later on March 13th. That means that the Colts will be on the hook for all $28 mil of that bonus on the 2012 salary cap if he is traded or released after that date. This is on top of the remaining $16 mil of his original signing bonus that they’d be responsible for. So if the Colts trade Peyton Manning, he will count $44 million against their salary cap in 2012. There’s no way that happens.
It’s just not going to feasible. It’s pretty simple. It would be almost impossible for the Colts to even field a team with that much of a cap being attributed to a player who’s not even on the roster.
But what if Manning restructures his deal to facilitate a trade? That’s possible, but still very unlikely. In order for Peyton to be traded, he’ll have to restructure his deal ahead of time, meaning he’s going to know that the Colts will be trying to trade him. Why would Manning restructure his deal just to weaken his new team by causing them to have to give up draft picks in the trade? It’s much more likely that he’d just ask to be released if the Colts came to him asking for that type of restructure.
Nope, I don’t believe that will happen. He’ll either retire, be on the Colt’s roster for all of 2012, or be cut before that Roster bonus check is due.
I also don’t think the Colts will take advantage of the cap rules by waiting until after June 1st. Doing so will allow them to spread the cap hit for trading Peyton over 2 seasons. Waiting until June makes the cap hit more palatable, but that’s taking a big risk. By then there wont be many teams in the market for Peyton’s services, so they wont get as much in return.
The Colts will have also already paid Manning the $28 million bonus in that scenario. That’s a lot of cash to spend to try and get someone to give up a couple draft picks. It’s also money that might be better spent on a couple good free agents instead. Nope, sorry. Even that scenario makes absolutely no sense.
I just don’t see any way in which Manning gets traded this offseason.
Scenario, Cap Value
On Roster for 2012 $17 million
Cut Prior to 3/3/2012 $16 million
Traded (or Cut after 3/3/2012) $44 million
Cut or Traded After June 1st $22 million (same for 2013)