Broncos give Peyton Manning $96-million, market set for Drew Brees and Saints


The Denver Broncos organization is now only hours away from revealing quarterback Peyton Manning as the newest member of the team as the final details of his contract have finally been ironed out.

Manning will get a five-year, $96-million dollar contract from the Broncos with a few “protections” for the team should Peyton’s surgically repaired neck not hold up through the course of the regular season.

The first year of Manning’s contract with Denver is a guaranteed, paying him $18-million dollars for the 2012 NFL season regardless of performance or overall health

After 2012 Manning will have to pass a physical (Injury Protection Waiver) before getting any guaranteed money, which is a scenario that will play out each and every year over the four remaining years in the contract.

Should Manning pass his physicals every year he will earn a base salaries of $20, $20. $19, and $19-million dollars in years 2013 through 2016 of the contract.

However if Manning fails the physical Denver has to the right to release Peyton flat-out with no penalty towards the cap as there is no signing or roster bonuses guaranteed to Manning.

Essentially if he remains healthy he gets paid, if not he doesn’t get paid.  His contract is being called a series of “one-year deals” because of this unique structure.

Now that Manning’s contract is in place, and yearly salaries known, the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees can progress towards getting a new deal finalized.

Brees and the Saints failed to reach a new deal by the leagues March 5th deadline to franchise tag players, which resulted in the Saints applying the exclusive rights franchise tag  on Brees.

That tag would guarantee Brees a $14.6-million dollar base salary for the upcoming season.

But Brees is not happy with the tag, and while he has not officially confirmed this, reports are that he will not sign and that he plans to hold out should he and the Saints not reach a long term deal by the leagues July deadline.

The issue in contract talks seems to stem from the fact that Drew’s agent, Tom Condon, is looking to secure his client $23-million a season.

The Saints of course are looking to keep that amount in the $18 to $20-million dollar range.

Even at $18-million a season that is the absolute ceiling for premier quarterbacks around the league by a wide margin.

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick will make a base salary of $12.5 million this season, the Packers will pay Aaron Rodgers $8-million, Tom Brady is getting  $5.75 million (+ $6 million roster bonus), and Philip Rivers gets $10.2-million from the Chargers.

So to pay Brees $18-million a season, tying him with Manning as the highest paid quarterback in the league, doesn’t seem like that far of a stretch.

Manning’s new deal at least gives the Saints a jumping off point to start the negotiations again — but eventually something has to give.