Posted by Will Brinson
Peyton Manning's contract status -- he's still franchise-tagged, but awaiting a monster extension despite concerns with his health -- is one of the biggest elephants in the NFL's free-agent waiting room these days.
Colts fans appear to be panicking that the current regime has its hands tied while Manning and the front office negotiate all and there seems to be concern coming from owner Jim Irsay that Manning wants too much money.
However, Manning told the Indianapolis Star on Friday that he's willing to take less money if it means the Colts can retain more players and remain aggressive in the open market.
"While I appreciate Jim Irsay offering to make me the highest-paid player, I told him I’d rather he save that money and keep whoever it is ... Joe Addai, Charlie Johnson, whoever that may be," Manning said, per the Indianapolis Star. "I'm willing to take less than they’ve offered if they are going to take that money to keep players we need to keep and go get other players.
"All I want is for them to have the cap and the cash to keep the players they want to keep and to sign other players."
Manning also denied that he was trying to max out his contract -- it's certainly been discussed that he's looking for up to $25 million a year, while Irsay's been quoted on Twitter as saying that
"The numbers that are being floated out there, the rumors of what I'm asking for ... that's not from me," he said. "I've never said one word about the contract. I told [Irsay and Polian] them my cap numbers can be as low as they want them to be in being creative with the salary cap."
Most importantly, though, Peyton said he wants a deal to get done. And done quickly.
"Today, tomorrow, definitely by Sunday," he said.
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