Entering the final season of his contract, Eli Manning is still waiting for the New York Giants to start negotiations about a new deal. When there’s no talk between the sides at this stage, it’s a problem.
Manning has been one of the most durable players in the NFL, not missing a single game in his career due to injury (began in 2004), and has played in 167 consecutive games for the Giants, all as a starting quarterback. He bounced back quite well from a terrible 2013, completing a career high 63.1% of his passes last season, throwing 30 touchdowns and 14 interceptions behind an improved offensive line and getting rid of the ball more quickly than before, not necessarily in a risky way.
But despite his two Super Bowl rings and being regarded as the greatest quarterback in franchise history, there’s always a doubt with the younger Manning brother. He isn’t immune to bad and sometimes horrendous performances in the regular season, he hasn’t looked very special for two years, he’s going to be very expensive (is a $19.75 million cap hit this year) and the Giants have missed the playoffs three years in a row, including going 13-19 over the last two years.
The Giants can use the franchise tag on Manning after this season ends, which means paying him somewhere between $21 million and $26 million. That’s a big hit to take for a quarterback that you might not be too happy about anymore. But the Giants don’t have anyone behind Manning to “threaten” him with. Ryan Nassib hasn’t exactly been winning the front office over, and doesn’t look, right now, like the quarterback of the future.
The San Diego Chargers would like to sign Philip Rivers on a new deal but there’s the whole San Diego to Los Angeles move getting in the way. The Steelers signed Ben Roethlisberger on a five-year, $99 million deal, which includes $61 million in guaranteed money and a $31 million signing bonus. That’s the kind of contract setting the standard for the guys in the 2004 draft class, and the Giants probably don’t want to make that kind of commitment to Manning.
Despite the fogginess of the situation and the unknown future, Manning isn’t letting this get to him, or at least isn’t making too much of a fuss about it. Maybe it has to do with what he’s accomplished and made financially so far. Or maybe that’s just Eli, who never seems to worried about anything.
I guess I’m just happy that I’m still playing and still got a job to do. I guess I’ve always just thought, they gave me a contract for six years, this is the sixth year. I don’t have any complaints. I’m going to do my job, no matter what. My focus is on playing good football, winning games, and whatever happens after that happens after that.