If there is a current athlete that has a bond as strong and as great to a city as Peyton Manning had with Indianapolis, it is Derek Jeter. Manning and Jeter have a lot of similarities from being the leaders of their teams, their commercial success to their ability to say and do the right things.
The Colts cut Manning today. Though there was a sense of sadness at the end of such an historic relationship, it lacked the bitterness that one would normally associate with a legend being released.
That brings us to Jeter.
When it is time for Jeter to say goodbye to the Yankees, there is one thing that he and his franchise may not have that Manning and the Colts had today -- a mutual understanding as to why. The salary cap gives Jim Irsay a way of saying he is doing the only logical thing and, as great as Manning has been, it is hard to argue.
Manning may have great football left in him, but with a neck injury that already cost him a season, Irsay couldn't reasonably gamble $28 million with Andrew Luck at his doorstep.
Eduardo Nunez is no Luck, at least not yet, and Jeter isn't going anywhere right now. Jeter will make $17 million this year and $17 million next season. In 2014, Jeter has an $8 million player option.
Jeter will be entering his 40-year-old season in '14 and the Yankees are now famously going to try to eke below the $189 million luxury tax threshold. If Jeter plays the next two seasons like he finished the second half of '11, he won't feel like he deserves having his pay cut by more than half. He might want a raise.
If he performs like the first half of '11, then the Yankees might want to say goodbye and save that $8 million, though, it won't be their choice.
The overall decision could be delayed until '15.
But, based on the way the negotiations went the last time around, it is hard to imagine how it ends as well for Jeter and the Yankees as it did for Manning and the Colts. The Yankees and Jeter will strive for that classy standard, but it will be fascinating to see if they reach it.
Question: Do you think Jeter and the Yankees will part ways one day as smoothly as Manning and the Colts?