Sources close to the team told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen that the announcement will come at a news conference in Indianapolis on Wednesday with both Manning and owner Jim Irsay in attendance.This is no surprise. When the team stunk just enough to line up for the #1 pick, and there is an NFL-ready quarterback in Andrew Luck lined up to be made the #1 pick, saving the $28 million is a bonus, really. If they stayed with Manning, the Colts might not have picked Luck, rolling the dice on Manning's health. Even if Manning proves healthy, putting Luck on the bench might not be the best thing for him- even if a year with a clipboard in hand worked out pretty well for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
The decision to pass on the $28 million bonus owed Manning and not to pick up the four remaining years on his contract means Manning will become a free agent, and sources told Mortensen that he intends to continue to play.
My pic of Peyton Manning huddling up during his last game in a Colts uniform, a playoff game against the NY Jets, January 2011.
We'll hear a lot of buzzing about loyalty here in Indiana for the next several weeks. I have mixed feelings. Only one of my favorite sports heroes (Steve Largent) played his entire career with one team. I was greatly disappointed when my favorite hockey player, Owen Nolan, was traded from my favorite team, the San Jose Sharks. But I understood it, as the Sharks got a #1 pick, a player who had been a #1 pick, and another player who immediately became the Sharks' new captain.
In this case, Irsay saves $28 million. I got the impression he would have cut Manning to save $28,000. Irsay simply wasn't going to be the kind of owner who paid that kind of money just to display loyalty over money.