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The Early Lead
Posted at 03:14 PM ET, 02/02/2012

Colts owner Jim Irsay: Peyton Manning decision could be pushed back

The biggest story of Super Bowl week in Indianapolis continues to have nothing to do with Sunday’s big game between the Patriots and Giants and everything to do with the host city’s home team.

Earlier this week, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning told ESPN’s Trey Wingo he hoped to meet with team owner Jim Irsay next week to settle his contract situation as he looks ahead to 2012. With the four-time MVP due a $28 million roster bonus on March 8, that remains the latest date a decision on Manning’s future with or without the Colts could come.

But on Wednesday, Irsay said that deadline could be delayed to give the team more time to consideration its future plans.

“Look, anything is possible if the two parties choose to get together,” Irsay said. “If it helps us win, I’ll pay (the roster bonus) in a second. But when it comes to salary cap ... we have real problems. You can’t make a decision that straps you for the next three seasons. If we make a decision based on just affection, and we have cap problems for three years, the fans will call me an idiot.”


Manning will have to wait a little longer to determine his future in Indy. (Phelan M. Ebenhack - AP)
Colts fans may have called Irsay far worse in recent months as he sent head coach Jim Caldwell, vice chairman Bill Polian and general manager Chris Polian packing following the team’s 2-14 season.

But if Indianapolis is set on a complete rebuild, keeping Manning — healthy or not — around just doesn’t seem overly practical.

Irsay has said the Colts will draft a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick this spring, and all signs point to that being Stanford standout Andrew Luck.

Meanwhile, Manning continues to rehab the neck injury that cost him the entire 2011 season and consider his options going forward.

One potential destination could be the Arizona Cardinals, who went all-in on former Philadelphia Eagles QB Kevin Kolb with disappointing results. Kurt Warner enjoyed a twilight resurgence in the desert, and playing catch with All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald could ease Manning’s transition.

According a report from the Terre Haute Tribune Star’s Tom James, Fitzgerald could make his sales pitch to Manning when the two friends have dinner together this week. ESPN’s Adam Schefter repoter on Jan. 22 that the Cardinals have “real interest” in Manning.

On Thursday, new Colts GM Ryan Grigson said he recently sat down with the franchise quarterback — something he did not do in his first hours on the job.

“It was an open conversation and I told him what I know,” Grigson said. “Whatever I knew, I told him. It was a straightforward, man-to-man conversation. It was fine.”

(H/T Pro Football Talk)

More from Washington Post Sports:

Peyton Manning shadow hangs over Super Bowl

Irsay planning to wait another month before making Manning decision

Early Lead: Manning “encouraged that I’ll be cleared and ready to go”

Insider: Too early to make a call on Peyton Manning

By  |  03:14 PM ET, 02/02/2012

 
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