Indianapolis Colts

Peyton Manning: A Refreshing Example of a Player Earning His Pay

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after a touchdown in the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Michael SchotteyNFL National Lead WriterJune 8, 2010

Whatever Peyton Manning wants, he should get.

He has certainly done everything to earn it.

This isn't a fan article, melting over a local hero. This isn't a beat reporter fawning over a quarterback who finally answered one of his questions. This isn't a national columnist who texts daily with NFL superstars, blurring the line of journalistic integrity.

This is a frank look from an unbiased observer who appreciates good quarterbacking—not to mention patience.

Manning makes a lot of money. He earns millions of dollars coming from the Colts, along with endorsements from DirecTV, Oreo, Mastercard, Sprint, Al's Toy Barn, Temecula Septic Treatment, and whatever else he lends his southern drawl to.

Peyton Manning is recession proof.

Still, when talking about NFL contracts, it is almost always about pride.

Players like Reggie Wayne, Darrelle Revis, and Chris Johnson are at the top of their respective games, and are ready to be paid like it.

A young player like Patrick Crayton isn't a top player, but wants to be paid for his contributions in past years to the Cowboys while getting insurance against rookie wideout Dez Bryant.

Cut back to Manning.

Do you see any of that?

For a man who literally cannot overestimate his own ability, Manning shows (publicly) no signs of hubris in recent times as many lesser quarterbacks have surpassed him on the NFL payment ledger.

JaMarcus Russell, Ben Roethlisberger, Tony Romo, and brother Eli all made more than Manning last year. If he did not receive a new contract this year, Matthew Stafford and Sam Bradford would have earned as much.

Regardless of personal feelings, every NFL fan has to agree that Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees are the top three quarterbacks in the NFL, and deserve to be paid like it.

Moreover, Manning is—to his team—the lynch-pin.

The Patriots didn't win a bunch of games in '08 because of the excellence of Matt Cassel. They won because they have a solid core of offensive and defensive players.

The Saints have a ton of talent and could probably sniff .500 without Brees.

The Colts without Manning?

He has consistently made due with subpar offensive linemen, and has continually turned rookie wide receivers into stars. His high completion percentage makes any running game luxurious, and keeps the Colts young (and slightly overrated) defense rested.

So as players like Terrell Owens, Tommy Kelly, Bernard Berrian, and others began earning more money than Manning, he could have been vocal, he could have been grumpy, he could have sat out all sorts of team activities.

He didn't. He wouldn't.

The Indianapolis Colts are ready to make Peyton Manning the highest paid player in the league.

Good. He's earned it.

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