While addressing quarterback Peyton Manning’s contract will be the top priority for the Colts once the lockout ends and the new league year begins, other contract situations will need to be addressed.
Wide receivers Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, and Anthony Gonzalez are entering the final years of their contracts, as are center Jeff Saturday, right guard Mike Pollak, and right tackle Ryan Diem.
Since Manning is the focal point of the team, offensive players tend to take priority come contract time, but the Colts will need to address defensive end Robert Mathis’ deal, writes Len Pasquarelli of The Sports Xchange.
“He’ll never play another snap there under that (existing) contract,” a source informed Pasquarelli.
A fifth-round pick out of Alabama A&M in 2003, Mathis posted 25.5 quarterback sacks in a reserve role his first three season in the league. As a restricted free agent in 2006, Mathis was signed to a six-year, $30 million extension. A starter in 55 of the next 74 games, Mathis has recorded 48.5 sacks, including 32 over the last three Pro Bowl seasons.
The 30-year-old Mathis is scheduled to earn $3.41 million in total compensation in 2011. In protest of his contract situation, Mathis skipped the team’s voluntary OTAs last offseason and he and Wayne both skipped a mandatory mini-camp in June. At that time, Colts president Bill Polian pinned the lack of new contracts for each player on the uncertainty of the labor situation.
“We’re not in a regular environment, that’s the problem,” Polian said according to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. “I’ve spoken to both their agents, and I certainly respect both men and they make a good case. But the problem is we don’t have a system, and without a system you don’t know where contracts might or might not fit.”
When a new collective bargaining agreement is reached, the Colts will need to find a new excuse for not renegotiating those deals.