Peyton Manning Rumors: Jim Irsay's Offer Is Most Ingenius Move Yet

Chris TrapassoAnalyst IFebruary 15, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 21:  Indianapolis Colts NFL team owner Jim Irsay address the media at the Roosevelt Hotelon March 21, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite a NFL owners imposed lockout in effect since March 12, the league is conducting it's annual owners meeting in New Orleans.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Nice flip of the script, Jim Irsay. 


The Indianapolis Colts owner seemed to be headed in the "right" direction with injured and elder franchise figurehead Peyton Manning a month ago.

Many believed he was ready to part ways with Manning and begin a new chapter in Colts history with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. 

We were all bracing for No. 18 to be almost awkwardly released from the Colts to test the free agent market. 

Then, Irsay called Peyton a politician after Manning discussed with the media the wholesale changes within the Colts organization. 

Many began painting Irsay as the bad guy, a self-absorbed owner that wasn't treating his most vital player with the respect he deserved after more than a decade of unparalleled success. 

He's taking it a step further, and actually seems to have changed his mind on the whole ordeal. Irsay said the following to the Indianapolis Star (via ProFootballTalk):

"We can make it work, if he wants to be here. We’d be excited to have him back and finish his career with us. I want him to be able to make the choice. We would love to have him back here if he can get healthy and we can look at doing a contract that reflects the uncertainty of the . . . healing process with the regeneration of the nerve.’’

This all seems to be an attempt to put Manning in a corner, allowing him to decide his own future.

If he does leave and returns to form elsewhere, none of the blame goes to the Colts' owner.

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 11:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts looks on from the sidelines during the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

There's a chance Irsay is having second thoughts and is hoping Manning will push back the $28 million he's owed to a later date, thus giving the Colts more time to evaluate his overall health and to get a better idea of the possibility that he can once again play at a high level. 

Now, if Manning bolts, he's seen as the bad guy who maybe just wanted out of Indianapolis in the first place.

The Colts can consequently draft Luck and that's it, the Colts-Manning marriage done with the divorce invoked by No. 18, himself. 

Or at least it would seem that way.  

If he stays, it's likely he'll do so on Irsay's new grounds. Manning could OK the push back of the $28 million deadline, which would be ideal for Indianapolis' front office.

They can still draft Luck and play Manning next season if he gets the big bonus and is ready for NFL action. 

Irsay has made a clever, dare I say brilliant, PR and organizational move that allows him to be the winner in just about any outcome.