Colts’ Glenn Knows Big Contract Awaits Him

Tarik Glenn is a patient man.  The Indianapolis Colts left tackle, whose Secret Service-like occupation requires him to protect quarterback Peyton Manning’s blind side, is entering the final year of his contract but has unlike the majority of contract year players, refused to ram his 6-5, 332-pound body through general manager Bill Polian’s door in search of a deal.  He knows he can command a nice increase from the $4.5 million salary he’s due this season. The Colts will get their Super Bowl XLI title rings tomorrow, and Glenn anchors a line that allowed an NFL-low 15 sacks.

Compare Glenn’s current deal with the astronomical contracts less-proven linemen have scored on the free agent market. Eric Steinbach and Derrick Dockery got seven-year deals in March worth at least $49 million — with no less than $17 million guaranteed — from the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills, respectively.  Also consider that neither of them play the more demanding left tackle spot, probably the closest thing to a skill position mainly because he has to protect the QB’s “blind side”, facing the opposition’s best pass rusher.  None of this makes Glenn sweat. He’s taking the opposite approach of Pittsburgh Steelers all-pro guard Alan Faneca, who has skipped team drills and declared this will be his last season in the black and gold.

As he told reporters last week, “I’ve made enough money in my career,” Glenn, who has earned three consecutive Pro Bowl bids, also added, “If I get hurt, that’s just the way it’s supposed to go.  I don’t knock anybody if they have a different approach, and I respect Alan Faneca so much.  But I don’t worry about it.  There were times when I didn’t get to the Pro Bowl and they gave me Pro Bowl money.  Good things will happen if you work hard and not burn bridges.”  Which has to be a relief to Colts general manager Bill Polian, whose top priority is signing all-pro defensive end Dwight Freeney, with a franchise player tag that guarantees him $9.46 million this season under the $109 million salary cap.

If the Colts can sign Freeney to a long-term deal that lowers his cap number, it could possibly create cap space to move on a deal for Glenn.  July 15 is a very significant date in this mix.  A tweak of the new collective bargaining agreement struck last year prevented teams from negotiating with franchise players after that date.  Once upon a time, a team could lower its cap number if it struck a new deal after the player signed the tender as a franchise player.  If the Colts don’t re-sign Freeney by mid-July, the task of striking a deal with Glenn becomes even more daunting.  Unlike some general managers, Polian is not against negotiating after the season begins. Glenn’s agent, Ralph Cindrich, sometimes advises clients to cut off talks after the season begins, because with each passing day they are closer to free agency.  But Cindrich also says he does what the client wants. 

Glenn’s 2007 salary isn’t even half of the $10.6 million ($4.5 million to be exact) Baltimore Ravens star left tackle Jonathan Ogden earned last season.  But new deal or not, Glenn does not sound like a man worried about job security.  Nor should he as Polian will ensure that he retires a Colt.

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