Sources: Colts and Manning Part Ways, Peyton to Become a Free Agent

Tony GiardinaCorrespondent IMarch 6, 2012

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

The Indianapolis Colts, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, decided on Tuesday that they will pass up the $28 million bonus and four years left on Peyton Manning's contract, making him a free agent.

The 14-year marriage between Manning and the Colts ends with one Super Bowl title and a questionable ending for both. It looks like the Colts decided that Andrew Luck was their future, and kicked to the curb one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

Manning led the Colts to the playoffs 11 times and won the AFC Championship twice, winning Super Bowl XLI against the Chicago Bears and losing to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV. 

This wasn't a Brett Favre story, Manning has been loyal to the Colts for 14 years. But this is professional football, and Manning's neck problems are a big risk and severely hurt his value in the years moving forward. 

The four-time MVP of the NFL has been cleared to play by doctors, but a $28 million bonus on a soon-to-be 36-year-old is risky to say the least. 

This opens the door for a number of teams that need a quarterback and will likely jump on Manning, including the Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, and Seattle Seahawks.

The official announcement on Manning and the Colts parting ways will take place at a press conference on Wednesday in Indianapolis.