The cold, harsh reality of the NFL is that, it does not matter what you were able to do in the past, it is what you can do for us NOW.
Peyton Manning is going to go down in history as one of the greatest quarter backs to ever play the game. However, his days in the NFL are just about over.
There is no question that the Colts are not going to pay Peyton Manning the reported $28 million dollar roster bonus before the first day of the league year, like he would be owed under his current contract. That is the entire reason they have not put him on IR yet, so they can see if he can come back and play possibly.
The Colts also will hold the first pick in the NFL draft, and with Andrew Luck most likely going to be available when the Colts make that selection, there is little doubt they will select the player that has been most compared talent wise to Manning.
(Luck still has another year of eligibility at Stafford, so there is a chance he stays for another year, or simply tells the Colts he doesn't want to be a part of that team.)
Either way, Manning is not going to be a member of the Colts, and with the Colts unable to trade him before that bonus comes due, their only option will be to let him go.
Will another team take a shot at Manning? Probably, but not for $10 million per year (about half of what he made this year not playing). He most likely will get a contract for some team, for league minimum, plus incentives.
But, it certainly won't be on the opening days of free agency.