There are certain things in life, regardless of whether we like them or not, that are facts that we all have to accept.
3. When Peyton Manning signs his contract, he will be the highest paid player in the NFL.
But does he deserve to be paid more than someone like Tom Brady?
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are two quarterbacks that are going to be linked forever. Ten years from now, we will hardly ever hear one of them spoken about and not the other.
There is little to no argument that over the course of the last decade, Manning and Brady have been the best QBs in the NFL. Sure, some will throw other names in the conversation. Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, and some even say Ben Roethlisberger (you all know I had to) have all had their name brought up by different people in different discussions. But the constants have always been Manning and Brady.
The paths of these two men have not exactly been mirror images of each other. Manning was the top pick in the 1998 draft, while Brady entered the NFL as the 199th pick.
Manning signed the richest contract ever for a rookie at that time (which, incidentally, is what started the rookie issues that the NFL faces today, but that is for another article), started from day one and has been the face of the franchise from day one.
Brady has never had that blockbuster contract and has always been willing to play for less so that the Patriots could put more quality players around him and on the defensive side of the ball, which translated into better teams that won more Super Bowls.
Now, as the two men are entering the last stages of their respective careers, both were due to become unrestricted free agents at the conclusion of the 2010 season. The Patriots have already secured the services of Brady for another four seasons, making him the highest paid player in the NFL with a $72 million contract, with $48.6 million guaranteed.
Bill Polian has already stated that Peyton Manning is going to be the highest paid player in the league and that as long as No. 18 is their QB, their window for championships is open.
The speculation has always been that Manning and the Colts were waiting to even start serious negotiations until the Patriots had signed Brady. This pretty much means that when Manning does sign his next contract, once again, it will be for more than Tom Brady is making.
Personally, I wish that BOTH men would have entered the free agent market next season so we could have seen how teams went after the two of them. It would have been a great indication what the owners of the NFL teams think is the better player.
Which brings up the question, is Peyton Manning worth more than Tom Brady?
Both have great arguments on their side. Manning can state that he has won three-and-a-half NFL MVP awards, while Brady only (only?) has one. Brady can say he has won three Super Bowls and been the MVP of two of them, while Manning only (only?) has one.
Manning has more career yards (53,472) than Brady (33,574) and more TDs, 388 to 248. Brady has a 14-4 playoff record and is 3-1 in the Super Bowl, while Manning has an 8-9 playoff record with a 1-1 Super Bowl record.
Both sides have a great argument, but are the Colts going to be paying for the past?
After Brady signed his contract extension, many speculated about whether not this year, but maybe next, Brady's play would start to decline. Would he still be the same person that he has been over the course of the last eight years?
Turns out, so far, the answer is yes.
With Peyton Manning, this season he is not playing like the Peyton Manning of the past. Sure, he has had MANY injuries to his weapons. Dallas Clark, Pierre Garcon and Anthony Gonzales have all been injured. That never mattered to Peyton Manning in the past, though.
Is this an aberration? Or is it possible that Manning's play is beginning to decline? Are Manning's best days behind him?
There is no questioning that Manning is one of the hardest workers in the NFL. He is EXACTLY what you would want as a head coach. His work ethic is second to none.
However, sometimes the mind is willing, but the body is simply not able. It happens to everyone. It happened to Joe Montana, Dan Marino and John Elway. It WILL happen to Manning (and Brady) at some point. It is another one of those things that in life we have to accept.
The only question is, is it happening now?
Therein lies the gamble for the Indianapolis Colts. Do they pay Manning for today? Or do they start to go in another direction?