Colts: No timetable for new contract

ANDERSON, Ind. -- Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian says he understands the need for him to field questions about Peyton Manning's contract situation.

That doesn't mean he's got much new to offer on the subject.

"There is no deadline, there is no timeline, Jim [Irsay] never said there was, I never said there was, [agent] Tom Condon has never said that there was," Polian said. "I talk to Tom all the time, sometimes about Peyton. There have been conversations and there will be."

Irsay has said Manning -- entering the final of a seven-year, $98 million contract -- will be the highest-paid player in the league. He has also talked of the necessity of holding the roster together.

Polian stopped short of giving Condon any additional public fodder for negotiations.

Asked if he agrees that Manning is the best player in the league, Polian said: "He's certainly among the top four or five. I don't get into those [ratings], that's a parallel universe question. I can't tell you who the greatest players of all-time are. I can take a guess on the top 100, I'm probably old enough to have seen 75 of them and have an opinion, but I don't get into who's the best. That's in the eye of the beholder."

Polian said a new deal will be about both money and structure and that the team has found a way to pay Manning and maintain a quality team around him for 13 years, "so my presumption is that we can continue to do it."

During minicamp holdouts by Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis, who wanted new deals they did not get, Polian said the uncertainty of the expiring labor agreement between the owners and players made negotiating new contracts complicated.

But it's not impossible a deal for Manning comes together before a new CBA.

"It could happen, sure," Polian said.

Manning has shrugged off questions about a new deal, saying he won't get into it while he's got a contract.

Polian said he and the four-time MVP quarterback visit each spring to discuss such matters and Manning was fine with what he heard in their most recent chat. Polian said there have been no further discussions since then.

Paul Kuharsky covers the AFC South for ESPN.com.