With the uncertain status of the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement raising some concerns in Indianapolis and Foxborough regarding the contract status of marquee QBs Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, Colts president Bill Polian shed a little light on his approach to the dilemma over the Fourth of July weekend.
"What we don't know is what the system is going forward," Polian told Boston radio station WEEI's Rob Bradford Saturday night at Fenway Park in Boston, as reported by the BostonHerald.com's Rap Sheet blog. "It makes it really difficult working out a deal that makes sense for everybody because you don't know what the (salary) cap will be, what the ramifications are, how things count. All of that makes it a little difficult. We've been going slowly along with (Manning's agent) Tom Condon because we're trying to formulate some things that will fit no matter what the system is."
Manning and Brady are both in the final year of their contracts, and their teams would like to be able to lock them up long term before their deals expire at the end of the league year. Considering that the details of a new CBA may not be finalized until after the end of the upcoming season, teams may have to roll the dice a bit if they want to secure their stars.
"We can't get into the nitty-gritty because we don't know what the rules will be," Polian said. "And that will clarify itself as the year goes on because there will be talks, people will understand what's on the table and what's not on the table. It's not like you're going to get a deal in October, I don't think. If that happens it would be great. But at least you can get a feel for the way things are going."
Manning is finishing a seven-year, $99.2 million contract, with a $34.5 million signing bonus, he signed in 2004. (Technically, it was a nine-year deal, but the final two years will be voided if he meets minimal playing-time standards.)
New England fans are similarly concerned about Brady's future, as little is known about discussions between his agent, Don Yee, and the typically close-mouthed Patriots organization. This is the final season of Brady's six-year, $60 million contract, which calls for a $3.5 million base salary this year.
Speaking to the Boston Globe about Brady in May, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said, "We're very lucky to have him as our quarterback and we want him to be our quarterback for a long time into the future," Kraft said. "Everything he represents is pretty special. He's a winner. We're privileged to have him a part of the New England Patriots organization."
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