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Irsay: Manning will become top-paid player

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By PFW staff

Peyton Manning is likely to be earning big bucks when he turns 40.

Colts owner Jim Irsay reiterated that Thursday at a hastily called news conference, saying Manning, who turns 35 in March, would sign a contract before the start of next season that paid him more than the NFL's current top earner, Patriots QB Tom Brady, is making and ran for a longer period.

"I think six years is certainly a possibility, five or six years," Irsay said. "There's not a definitive number that I'm stuck on. You don't know how much longer he can play. You hope that it's five years, maybe six years. Until you get longer down the road, it's really uncertain."

Brady signed a four-year, $72 million contract in September.

The Colts placed the exclusive franchise tag on Manning on Tuesday, meaning the quarterback can't negotiate with any other team. If Manning were to play next season under the tag, he would earn a salary of $23.07 million, 120 percent of his salary last season.

Other Colts whose contracts expire March 3, which Irsay and president Bill Polian must address, include PK Adam Vinatieri, RB Joseph Addai and LB Clint Session. The Colts' brain trust also must decide whether to keep SS Bob Sanders, who has been limited to nine regular-season games over the past three seasons because of injuries after having won Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2007.

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