Posted by Will Brinson
Peyton Manning is going to miss at least eight weeks. It sure seems like it'll be longer and it's hard to imagine that the Colts bring him back for part of season -- thereby risking serious long-term injury -- if they're not in serious contention come November or December.
But what about longer than that? Turns out, the Colts built a little safeguard of sorts into the five-year, $95 million deal that Manning signed at the end of July. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Colts incorporated a team option for a $28 million bonus that must be picked up five days before the start of the 2012 league year beginning.
In other words, Manning will get his full salary this season -- $23 million -- but the Colts could conceivably allow him to become an unrestricted free agent following this season if they decided not to pick up his option.
There's only one real scenario where this might happen, and that's if Peyton's recovery goes so poorly that he's on the verge of retiring because of potential life-threatening damage to his neck and/or spine should he continue to play football.
If Manning returns for the 2012 season -- as most doctors, both real and the unlicensed variety, ahem, believe he will -- you can bet that the Colts will be keeping him on the roster.
But it certainly warrants mentioning that they won't necessarily have to pay Peyton the full $95 million if he doesn't take another snap in his career.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.