The Colts have a potential mess on their hands regarding Wayne

Peyton Manning needs a new contract, as do 18 other Colts players that are set to become free agents in 2011.

Reggie Wayne doesn’t need a new contract, but he wants one. He’s also willing to skip the team’s mandatory three-day mini-camp this weekend in order to show the Colts that he’s unhappy with his current deal.

Wayne has two years remaining on the six-year, $39 million contract he signed in 2006. He’s making less than $6 million per season, which is where the root of the issue comes in. Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall and Randy Moss – three players that Wayne outperformed last year – are just some of the receivers that are making more than Indy’s star receiver. Those three are all making $9 million a year, while four other receivers had multiyear contracts in 2009 that reached more than $8 million annually.

The problem is that the Colts’ main focus (and rightfully so) is on Manning. The quarterback that has led them to two Super Bowls over the past five years needs a new deal to help him finish out his career in Indianapolis and the Colts have made re-signing him priority No. 1 on their to-do list.

No matter how good they may be, the Colts’ front office doesn’t make it a habit of re-working players’ contracts that still have two years remaining on them. Wayne may be one of the team’s most productive players, but Manning, Joseph Addai, Antonie Bethea, Melvin Bullitt, Clint Session and Adam Vinatieri all need new deals when 2010 wraps up. Wayne is set through 2011.

There’s no doubt that Wayne is underpaid. But the Colts’ hands are tied at the moment until Manning gets his new deal and they have a plan in place to retain the other potential free agents. He may have to show some patience and have faith that the team will re-work his deal after the season. That said, if he continues to hold out through training camp, he may force the Colts into a making a decision that they didn’t think they’d have to make for another year or so.


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