ESPN’s Bayless: Peyton Manning Should Say ‘I Want to Play for Free Next Year’

During the Tuesday show of ESPN2’s “First Take,” co-host Skip Bayless was asked if Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning should take a pay cut for what could be Manning’s final year of his professional career. He is set to make $19 million this season, which will be played at the age of 39.

According to Bayless, Manning should take the pay cut in order to help his team.

“If I were Kobe or I were Peyton Manning, and I were entering into what probably will be my final year, Peyton at age 39, and I’m scheduled to make $19 million, when I’m in every other commercial that we see on television, God knows how much he makes off the field on top of the $19 million. And you say you’re a capitalist, and that you just get what you’re worth, and he’s certainly worth $19 million, but if I were Peyton Manning, honestly, from my heart, I would say, ‘I want to play for free next year.’”

“Now, they would force me to take the NFL minimum,” he added. “They would — I don’t know what the — they’d force me to take the minimum, and then I could play for incentives, which wouldn’t count against my salary cap, but if I am in danger of losing Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas, and my offensive line did not protect me very well last year, and it needs some holes plugged, then why wouldn’t I say, ‘John Elway, I’m going to let you enter into the free agent market with fistfuls of my dollars. I’ll take less money. I’ll take minimum money with incentives so that you can maximize my chances of winning a ring in my final year.’ It just makes all the sense in the world, unless you’re Stephen A. Smith, then I don’t get it.”

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