The New York Giants and Eli Manning are getting closer to a deal that probably sees him finishing his career with the team, but there are still a few things getting in the way of a finalized contract.
Obviously, there’s a game to be played here. Agent Tom Condon is making it seem like he and his client are growing impatient with the Giants as part of their negotiating tactics, although it’s quite certain no one will give Manning the kind of money the Giants will. Franchise quarterbacks don’t just get up and leave to other teams, and Manning is probably more well regarded in New York than anywhere else.
The Giants would like to end this thing before training camp starts (July 31), but sources suggest that they’re in no real urgency, feeling they can get it done next offseason as well if the numbers for both sides don’t work. The Giants have the leverage here, because despite the two Super Bowl rings and MVPs Manning has, the last three seasons haven’t been elite, and Manning isn’t going to get paid like that elsewhere.
So what is fair? The overall numbers will probably be around the same Ben Roethlisberger got from the Steelers in the latest extension – $99 million over five years, with $53 million in guaranteed money. The Giants and Manning would probably be fine with a deal that pays him around $21-22 million on average over four years, but the problem is details and the guaranteed money.
Manning is coming off one of his best regular seasons ever, carrying on his streak of starts, not missing a single one since becoming a starter in the 2004 (his rookie year) season). Manning is scheduled to earn $17.5 million in salary and bonuses this year and count $19.75 million against the cap, and the Giants don’t need to make this deal for cap relief, but in order to take one item off the To-Do list.
There’s always the possibility of using the franchise tag on Manning if things don’t work out even in the next batch of negotiations, but the Giants would like to have better control of the cap hit, and reserve the franchise tender for someone like Prince Amukamara.