Profootballtalk.com wrote:COLTS HAVE THE EDGE ON JAMES?
On the same day that Colts G.M. Bill Polian is bemoaning in the USA Today his inability to retain two starting linebackers due to cash-flow problems inherent to life in a small market (but which didn't prevent him from paying a $38 million bonus to quarterback Peyton Manning), we're hearing that the team is feeling pretty good about the value it's realized over the past five seasons on Edgerrin James' rookie contract.
After being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 1999 draft, James signed a six-year deal. Despite a few restructurings, the contract essentially has paid out the same dollars promised at the outset, and the Colts have reaped the benefit of three stellar seasons and an above-average return last year from a 2002 ACL tear.
So with James entering the final year of his deal, word is that the Colts are content to allow him to finish out the contract and test the market in 2005. Veteran running backs with wear and tear simply aren't commanding big dollars on the open market, and the thinking is that James won't have many (any) eight-figure offers thrown his way in March of next year.
Conversely, Edge is feeling a bit like he took the shaft, we're told, giving his best years to the Colts while never getting that knee-buckling sophomore contract most elite players receive. Our guess is that he'll end up with an incentive-laden, two-year deal with a pedestrian signing bonus next year as he tries to show that he can get back to the form that made him one of the best backs in the NFL from 1999 through 2001.
As for the Colts, if they can't match the best offer that James gets elsewhere, maybe they can ask Manning to give back some of his money.
Manning won't do it, of course -- but at least they can ask.
I find this kind of sad, as I am a pretty big Edge fan. I would lose a lot of respect for the Colts organization if this comes to fruition. In addition, if Manning refused to restructure his monster contract to help Edge, the player who carried the Colts in Manning's early years, I would hate him more than I already do.