Irsay is trying to leverage the rumor that Manning will do a team friendly deal for an interested team that is a franchise QB away from contending and doesn't intend to draft one with the #1 pick in the 2012 draft into Manning shooting his way out of town. And you'd be surprised what will fly in Indy these days since it's a given drafting Luck guarantees them another 13 years of division dominance and conference contention...
Irsay is his own worst enemy in all of this. The twitter monster. He publicly pontificated that he wanted to make and keep Manning the highest paid player in the league. Had he gotten his way Manning would have just signed a new deal last March before the lockout and before the surgery or when Brady did in 2010 and now Indy would be on the hook for $30M+ instead of $10M in dead cap. Manning gave them an option and they took it. That option included a no trade provision if they decided to move on.
A 2-14 season and the #1 pick drove Irsay's decision to move on from everyone associated with the last 13 year run and reinsert himself as the one true face of the franchise and defender of the horseshoe... But he doesn't want to be his reviled old man either, the guy who pushed Johnny Unitas out the door. And at 39 Unitas was toast, so Irsay fears this could be worse. If Manning goes somewhere else and wins consistently over the next 3-4 seasons while Indy struggles to rebuild around a college QB with little more than projections of greatness...let alone if he lands in their division and finally makes a team like Texas genuine contenders (and the oft injured Schaub's deal is up after this year)... Well, he knows who fans will turn their wrath on, Bob Irsay's son. If you want to play the good cop you probably shouldn't have fired the bad cop first.
Colt fans seem to be genuinely divided. In part because Irsay spent the last couple of months convincing them first that he had no intention of ever moving away from Manning if he was healthy and going so far as to reassure them they could have their cake and eat it too. His accountant must have called and explained the finances - and perhaps human nature - to him. He began counting on Manning being done, and Manning isn't there yet and frankly you can't blame him for resenting the implication.
This is about Luck and the #1 pick. If Irsay wants Manning to stay all he has to do is stipulate he will not use the #1 pick on a QB but rather on improving the team that would surround his 2012 QB. If not, he needs to just hold up his end of the bargain and let Manning go to a team who will gladly stipulate that. It's not about the money, it's about the draft pick and direction of the team over the next 3 seasons. Manning would be an idiot to give this clown another break after the way he's backpedaled over the last month or two. It's all about trust and Manning no longer trusts anyone in control in Indy.
If Jim Irsay believes that moving on is in the franchise's best interest, he has to own that. Like Kraft did with BB and BB did with Brady. Irsay's not dealing with some hayseed from Kiln, Mississippi who only wanted to show up and play sandlot football on Sunday's. Manning is an anal football machine, and a veritable industry, and represented by the top agent shark in the business, and he has a multitude of options post career and he has all the leverage. Can't win this fight and all he will do in the process of trying to is further piss Manning off and pile the pressure on a new staff and a rookie QB to win now on a team that is absent a draft windfall woefully devoid of talent.
Makes for some great off season NFL viewing though...