At a time when members of the mainstream media are abuzz with talk of new labor agreements and star quarterbacks whose contracts are expiring after this season, I’m a little surprised to hear Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay admit that he would use the franchise tag on Peyton Manning if it came down to it. It’s uncertain if there will even be such a thing as a franchise tag when a new labor agreement is reached, but apparently Irsay won’t be afraid to use it if there is. Here’s what the Colts owner told the Associated Press, courtesy of Pro Football Talk:
The bottom line is we’ll get something done and when it happens just depends,” Irsay said, per the Associated Press. “I said he’d be the highest-paid player and he may already be if we go with the [franchise] tag. I’d love to see him be here and break all those records as a Colt.”
While I’ve already said I think too much is being made of QB contract situations and I don’t think any of the game’s best quarterbacks are changing teams, I don’t think guys like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees want to be franchise tagged. Irsay has openly stated he plans on making Manning the highest-paid player in the NFL, but I’m sure Manning would prefer a deal to get done before use of the franchise tag is necessary. If it still exists, the tag would give him a one-year contract worth $18.96 million, which isn’t exactly petty cash. However, it doesn’t provide the long-term security that a Super Bowl champion has earned.