But should he demand it?
I don't think so.
Let's discuss some numbers on the matter.
In Brady's deal, he will earn an average annual salary $18 million per year.
Manning will likely receive a contract in the range of $20 million to $23 million per year, which would be the equivalent of a $92 million, four-year contract—$20 million more than Brady.
Without a doubt, Manning is of the highest caliber and deserves to be paid as such.
But how much money does a player need before it's just going overboard?
For years, Manning versus Brady has been the controversy of the NFL. Both quarterbacks have an impressive resume with amazing statistics, dramatic game-winning drives and intangibles that simply can't be measured.
Should Peyton Manning take a pay cut?
But in nearly every argument, it comes down to one thing: Super Bowl championships.
While Brady has three rings, Manning only has one which, to many, makes him second-best.
And while I have nothing but respect for Manning, it's a legitimate argument.
Manning is arguably the best player in the NFL and without a doubt a future Hall of Famer, but until he wins another Super Bowl, he will always be recognized as the best quarterback to win one championship.
So what can Manning do to make this argument null and void?
It's simple really.
Take a pay cut to let the Colts sign some top-notch free agents, and win more championships.
Manning has already earned near the $200 million mark through previous contracts and endorsement deals. So why the demand for such a huge contract now?
Does he really need it?
He doesn't exactly come off as the kind of person who has blown all of his money on numerous sports cars and bling.
But who knows?
Maybe there is a side of Manning we don't know about.
But my guess is more along the lines of selfish greed.
Manning wants to be the highest paid player in the NFL.
He wants that title.
And unfortunately for the city of Indianapolis and Colts fans around the country, he will probably get it.
You would think he would prefer the title of “best player in NFL history,” but with only one championship, that is only an opinion—often of biased fans.
Think of the possibilities if Manning did take a pay cut.
Let's say he was humble enough to take a $60 million, four-year deal which I, personally, wouldn't complain one bit about.
Manning could talk to Colts head coach Jim Caldwell and general manager Chris Polian about signing some talent on either side of the football.
They could pursue some much needed help at offensive line such as Logan Mankins, or how about upgrading the injury-prone running back position and pursuing DeAngelo Williams?
Think either of those players wouldn't love to play for a team like Indianapolis who will have Super Bowl potential?
The Colts could even use the money toward improving their defense.
Nnamdi Asomugha or Antonio Cromartie would be welcomed with open arms to the city of Indianapolis.
Obviously any of these guys would also demand a high-paying salary, but if Manning were to take the right pay cut, it wouldn't be impossible.
The Indianapolis Colts would be a team to be reckoned with if any of these players could be signed.
Sadly, the Colts and the city of Indianapolis are prepared to elect Manning mayor of the city if he demands it.
And I'm not even saying he's not worth it.
But it's not a question of what he is worth.
It's a question of what a championship and legend status is worth to Manning.