Finally, after much speculation over the offseason, The New York Giants and quarterback Eli Manning have agreed on a contract extension.
By Bryan Pol
Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger, two notable quarterbacks from the NFL Draft Class of 2004, played the entire preseason without having to worry about a contract.
The first pick of that draft class, two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, thought it better to precede the immediate start of the 2015 NFL regular season with a reported contract extension of his own.
According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, filing a report from fellow correspondent Ed Werder, the New York Giants and Eli Manning are on the verge of a four-year, $84 million extension.
With few remaining points to resolve, Eli Manning told me he hopes contract extension with @Giants will be finished “very, very soon.”
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) September 10, 2015
Manning is in the final year of a five-year extension he signed in 2011 that pays him $17.5 million. His per-year figure of $16.25 million makes Eli the 17th highest-paid quarterback in the league, behind the likes of Ryan Tannehill, Colin Kaepernick, Jay Cutler, Alex Smith, and Carson Palmer, none of whom ever won a Super Bowl, with only one (Kaepernick) appearing in the league’s title game, and one (Tannehill) never having made the postseason.
Furthermore, the new deals signed by Roethlisberger, Rivers, and Russell Wilson in the offseason distances Manning further from the top of the game’s highest-paid signal callers.
“It’s not done yet,” Manning said of the deal, telling Werder of the negotiations earlier Thursday afternoon. “Hopefully it gets done very soon, and I can worry about football and not have to deal with this.”
Earlier this offseason, Manning drew ire from media and fans alike for claiming, according to mixed reports, that he wanted “to be the NFL’s highest paid player.”
Manning heads into 2015 behind a battered offensive line that is missing Will Beatty until November at the earliest, and is relying on third-year starter in tackle-turned-guard Justin Pugh, who has yet to live up to his being drafted in the first round in 2013.
2015 draftee Ereck Flowers, and Marshall Newhouse – an especially poor pass protection man at right tackle who struggled in stints with Green Bay and Cincinnati – round out an offensive line with major question marks.
Although unsure of what production he will get out of his former security blanket in slot receiver Victor Cruz – who returns this season from a torn patella tendon – Manning sees the return of dynamo receiver Odell Beckham Jr., progressing wideout Rueben Randle, and a surprise standout in tight end Larry Donnell.
In support of the wideout corps is a stout running attack in Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, and newly acquired Shane Vereen, who provides Eli another weapon in the passing game not seen at the running back position since Tiki Barber‘s departure in 2006.
Considering the options on offense, and his second year under offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo – who employs a quick-pass system that compensates for Eli’s shoddy protection up front – Manning will find himself able to make good on his promising 2014 campaign, which was statistically his second best season in the NFL.
In 2014, Eli completed 63.1% of his passes, the best mark of his career, and threw for 4,410 yards (the second-highest yardage of his career), 30 touchdowns (the second-highest total of his time with the Giants), and just 14 interceptions (his fewest since 2009, much improved from the 27 he threw in 2013).
His 92.1 quarterback rating was also the second-highest of his career.
Alas, those 2014 New York Football Giants did not make the playoffs, finishing third in the NFC East at 7-9, “good” enough to place them in the ninth position of the NFL Draft to take the aforementioned Flowers.
Should the Giants fail to make the playoffs in 2015, New York would find themselves four years removed from their last playoff berth when, consequently, they last won the Super Bowl, a 21-17 victory over the now-defending champion New England Patriots.
Should the signing happen sooner than later, Eli will have only football with which to concern himself, as his season starts this Sunday night in the “House Eli Built,” Dallas’s AT&T Stadium.
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