According to ESPN.com, the Colts met with Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, on Thursday, and the team’s first offer exceeded Tom Brady’s four-year, $72 million deal inked last September.
Sources say that the Colts are willing to make Manning the highest-paid player ever, but they do want to put “reasonable constraints” on the deal so that the team can sign free agents to surround Manning with.
If a deal cannot get done soon, the Colts are expected to use their franchise tag on Manning, guaranteeing him $23 million next season. They did the same in 2004 prior to locking him up for seven years, $98 million. Still, it is unclear whether or not the franchise tag will have any meaning after the current CBA expires.