Fine Print and Funny Money — Why Peyton Manning’s Deal Isn’t As Sweet as It Seems
Everybody thinks the Denver Broncos gave Peyton Manning $95,000,000 for five years of work, as if playing quarterback in the NFL is actual work. Not that it isn’t hard but, compared to you and me, it isn’t work. Well, compared to me, anyhow. But that $95,000,000 is not actual money like what’s in your wallet, so you’ve got a lot less reasons for envy than you think you do. (At least 60,000,000 of them, by my count, and maybe more.)
You see, Peyton’s deal is probably something like this. It’s $15,000,000 for signing, $20,000,000 the first year and $15,000,000 for each of the final four years IF the Broncos want to pay it. So, he’s actually getting only $15,000,000 guaranteed. He’ll get another $20,000,000 for showing up on Opening Day, UNLESS he gets run over by an enraged water buffalo one day in August. If that happens – and I hope and pray to the
Almighty it doesn’t because he’s a fine, upstanding man — but if it does, he’s going to need one hell of a lawyer to get that $20,000,000. So, see -- it’s a lot closer to the money you’re making.
(Don’t you like seeing all those zeroes instead of just $95 million spelled out? When I win the lottery, I’m going to tell them, “Show me the zeroes!”)
Indianapolis let him go earlier this month so they wouldn’t have to pay him $28,000,000 that was due if they kept him. That money, known as a roster bonus, was part of the $90 million contract Peyton signed last summer with the Colts as “guaranteed,” but the check for it never got cut.
What’s my point? Am I nuts? Well, the answer to the second question is, “Yes,” and the answer to the first one is, “Maybe it’s you who’s nuts.” My point is that all these big contracts that are passed out like tickets to movies nobody wants to see carry something called an Oklahoma Guarantee.
Here’s how it works. The Oklahoma Guarantee-er places one hand on his dear mama’s gray head and raises the other one and says, “I swear I’m gonna give you exactly what I’m promising on exactly the day I swear I will. Unless I change my mind.”
It’s an actual thing, the Oklahoma Guarantee. A friend of mine told me his daddy told him about it a long time ago and I looked it up and there it was. It said that T. Boone Pickens, the Oklahoma oil and gas tycoon, told TV a little while back, “I can give you an Oklahoma Guarantee that natural gas will never sell above diesel and gasoline prices as fuel for vehicles.” All the suckers listening thought ol’ Boone meant it for real, but he was just covering his posterior, knowing nobody, not even Boone Pickens, can predict the future. And if he could, why would he want to give his prediction an actual guarantee when he could use the Oklahoma version?
So, like I said, the difference between Peyton Manning and you and me isn’t anything near as much as you might think. Because when my boss says, “Bubba, next year you’re gonna be making a whole lot more than you are this year and you won’t have to work half as hard for it,” I can take that to the bank.
I just can’t deposit it.
Hey, I’m Bubba and you ain’t.