I respect the opinion of those who think Eli Manning deserves every penny that he will be paid with his new contract. While he does have a title and a Super Bowl MVP, ultimately the Giants will be bidding against themselves. Around the NFL, he is viewed as a Quarterback who has been blessed with an excellent team around him and a clutch QB. While most people though only look at the latter, Manning at times in inconsistent and the Giants will win games inspite of him rather than because of him.
There aren't going to be many teams (if any) that will sign Manning if he hits the open market after the 2009 season. To pay a Quarterback the kind of money that Eli Manning will try to get, is a lot of money for someone who isn't asked to perform at an excellent level throughout the entire game.
For the Giants though, he fits in well within their system and is the type of leader that the organization has been coveting since Phil Simms retired. Manning is worth the money to the Giants, because he has won them a Super Bowl in addition to three other post-season appearances as well as a Pro Bowl. The Giants would be paying him for his past accomplishments.
The NFL is a business, whether anyone wants to admit it or not and if I were anyone making the decisions, I would open up negotiations at a very low number (maybe seven years, $80 Million) while obviously this is a lot of money, it is nowhere near the $120 Million that he is seeking, to make him the highest paid player in NFL history.
The bottom line is that Eli Manning needs to prove himself this year, that without Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer, he can be an effective QB. If he is able to have a successful season and make some type of playoff run, he will prove that the 2007 championship was not a fluke. If he does all of that, than pay him the money that he deserves. If the Giants are able to capture Super Bowl XLIV than the Giants should hand him a blank check. If not the Giants should try and sign him, but make sure they have enough money to bring in other players to help get them back to the promised land.