To be honest, no one knows. But I have a good guess,
Thats perhaps (two 2 round picks) or a (2nd and a 3rd). I know what you're thinking "Hey what about the Carson deal, or the Cassel deal?" I realize there is no way to compare Manning and either of the two QB's I've named, (because of Manning greatness) but for perpective's sake they must be used.
Here's the logic...
You dont give up the farm for a guy who is going to get a $28 Mil Roster bonus. Thats called bad business. No one should be willing to do that. Imagine giving up multiple (newly discounted) 1st round picks, and picking up a contract that includes shelling out $28 Million dollars ON AVERAGE PER YEAR.
In most instances where you see multiple picks in a trade is for player (with a very team friendly contract) or moving up to draft a player (who will eventually have a team-friendly contract, if said player plays up to that pick)
Here are a few examples of what I'm talking about:
OAK gave: 2012 1st, conditional 2013 1st/2nd High Compensation
CIN gave: Carson Palmer and his contract on average about 13 Million per season through 2014. Team Friendly
For a little perspective here are the 2011 QB salary ranks enjoy!
Here more on his contract
Peyton Manning 23
Sam Bradford 18.4
The Beautiful One 18
Michael Vick 15.9
Mark Sanchez 13.5
Matt Cassel (Holding it down, I might add) 12.25
There are a few more that should be seeing extension Manning-esque like Hmmm... Like Brees, Rivers, (and oh yeah that guy) A. Rodgs
Lets assume that Brees Rivers and Rodgers get extended that'll put Palmer around top 10 QB money, which in all honesty isnt as bad as it sounds because it should be about 10 mill on average less than the top 3. By the time his contract expires (2014) he should be making right about middle of the pack. Friendly!
Lets take a quick look at Cassel (even though we all know it)
KC gives: 2nd Rounder Low Compensation
NE gives: Vrabel, Cassel UNFRIENDLY CONTRACTS
Cassel contract franchised at that time around 14.65 Million, Vrabel contract around 5.8 Million
You want to trade a guy with a team friendly contract? Lets talk about multiple picks!
You want to trade a guy with a loaded contract? Let me see what I have in my garage...
Trade logic should kick in and say "Do you have any beachfront property you'd like to sell me also?"
Will someone offer a lot for Manning? Sure, the difference in the examples I made is talent.
Its such a tough deal to get right. I just dont want to be the team associated with pulling a Ditka, for a guy thats unsure health-wise, on top of all the issues I've listed above. If we traded for him, a ridiculous amount of compensation, and he didn't or couldn't produce, that might cut me deep... real deep....
The not-so talked about issue is this... Peyton is going to be given a list of which teams which want to trade for him, and within the Colts ability they will send him where he wants to go. Is it KC? I'm bias as hell. I think we are a match made in heaven, young talent, hungry rising defense, but what does Peyton think? What does he think of Pioli or Haley, or our current offense? I dont know