Lombardi: Ways to trade Peyton Manning exist

It’s not a conversation anyone would have anticipated eight months ago, but there’s no use denying it’s out there now.

The Peyton Manning-less Colts’ 0-12 record and their anticipated use of a first-round draft pick on a quarterback has brought us to this: How difficult would it be for the team to trade the four-time NFL MVP?

There are many “ifs” involved when asking that question: if Manning can return from three neck surgeries in the last 18 months, if he wants to continue to play and if the Colts decide they want to go a different direction at quarterback.

One recent report suggested trading Manning would be too expensive. But NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi said Wednesday on “NFL Total Access” the way to work around the $28 million option bonus due to Manning next year and the impact of a deal on the salary cap to make a trade feasible starts with re-working his contract.

“Let’s say they decide they want to trade him,” Lombardi suggests. “Then clearly the trading team would re-do the contract with Peyton Manning and then they would be able to make the trade and accept it for their cap. There are a lot of ways to get around this, but clearly, re-doing the contract is the first step.”

That scenario would take Manning’s approval, giving him leverage. These are tense days in Indianapolis, but whether or not Manning wants out badly enough behind the scenes probably is something only Archie Manning really knows.

Considering Manning could be called the MVP of the league (again) without even playing a down, nearly every team would want to be involved in those trade conversations. As Lombardi suggests, it seems logical the Colts wouldn’t want Manning anywhere in the AFC after a trade. That narrows the field by half.

Good luck with all of this, Indy.

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