While fans of teams across the nation that have some sort of quarterback issues were all abuzz about the news that Peyton Manning has been medically cleared for football activities, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is pushing back some more to allow him some wiggle room should he decide to release Manning before his $28 million bonus is due March 8.
In response to the news that Manning could resume football activities without risking further injury to his neck, Irsay tweeted Thursday evening, "Peyton has not passed our physical nor has he been cleared to play for The Indianapolis Colts. Team statement coming on Friday."
Now to be clear about Manning's health, it is his neck that is football safe. What is not known yet is whether or not Manning can throw a football at full strength.
Irsay has a huge decision to make, regardless of the health of Manning. The Colts have the number one pick in the NFL Draft this April and it is well known that Andrew Luck is likely going to be their selection. They could pay Manning the bonus, but that would then handcuff the team financially and they would not be able to put together the necessary talent around Manning to make the team a Super Bowl contender.
However, you don't typically cut a Hall of Fame quarterback when he you don't already have a guy ready to take over.
It seems that both Irsay and Manning are using the media to manipulate the situation and put pressure on the other. Manning definitely is planning on playing, he wants to stay in Indy and he naturally wants the money from his contract.
Irsay wants to win now and in the future and might be concerned about Manning's effectiveness and also how the team will look in two or three years if the cap situation is serious and the Colts cannot sign players or have to cut highly paid ones.
What is certain is that we have not heard the last of this story yet, as it has become the story of this offseason.