Eli Manning Reportedly Wants to Be Highest-Paid Player in NFL

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2015

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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has reached the top of the football mountain twice in his career. Now he wants to reach the top of the financial rankings in the NFL as well.

The two-time Super Bowl winner is set to be an unrestricted free agent following this season, per Spotrac.com, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com noted that the quarterback has his eyes on serious money, per NFL Media PR:        

NFL Media @NFLMedia

.@RapSheet on Eli: "He wants to be paid higher than any QB in the game, wants to be game’s highest-paid player, more than Aaron Rodgers."

NFL Media @NFLMedia

.@RapSheet on Eli: "Until he comes down from that, the two sides are likely still going to be far apart. He at this point seems OK w/ that."

For context, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers was the highest-paid quarterback last season with an average salary of $22 million, according to SI.com

Paul Schwartz of the New York Post thinks it would be in the Giants' best interest to wait the 2015 season out and see where Manning stands at that point:

But it may behoove the Giants to allow their franchise quarterback to play out his current deal, despite the unwanted lame-duck status that would hover over his 2015 season.

It simply might not make sense for the Giants to empty the coffers for Manning before they have to. He's set to make $17 million in the sixth and final year of the $97.5 million extension he signed prior to the 2010 season. He will cost $19.75 million on the 2015 salary cap. That's some heavy lifting for the Giants, and with so much long-term uncertainty surrounding the team, from the head coach on down, it might be unwise to saddle the organization with a mega-deal that a year from now could be viewed as a financial albatross.

Schwartz mentioned the amount of money teams around the league typically spend on quarterbacks and said that "it is inconceivable Manning will accept anything less than $20 million per year on at least a four-year extension. Like it or not, that's the going rate."

Former agent and current CBSSports.com contract expert Joel Corry didn't paint a pretty picture for Giants fans hoping they will keep their quarterback for cheap, per Schwartz:

Well, his agent is Tom Condon. Tom Condon is not giving the Giants a hometown discount. The only way that happens is if Eli Manning controls the process and tells his agent, 'I want to stay here, let's leave some money on the table so we can build a better team around me.' If Tom Condon is allowed to manage the negotiation on his own, he's asking for $20 million a year for Eli Manning.

The question will naturally become whether Manning is worth all that money.

He is a three-time Pro Bowler, has the two Super Bowl rings and was impressive last season with 4,410 passing yards and 30 touchdowns. However, turnovers have always plagued him, and 2014 was his 10th straight season with double-digit interceptions (14). He also isn't that far removed from the 27 picks he threw in 2013.

Partially because of those interceptions, many fans have never viewed Manning as belonging in the elite company of Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees or his brother Peyton Manning.

What's more, age will certainly be a factor in Manning's next contract discussions since he will be 35 years old before the 2016 season. He may not have that many effective years remaining, and the Giants will consider that when negotiating any potential deal.

Waiting until after the season may not be a bad thing for Manning, though, because he has the receiver tandem of Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. You would be hard-pressed to find a better duo, which is a quarterback's dream. Manning could put up big numbers simply by finding the athletic Beckham in the red zone and hitting the speedy Cruz on underneath routes.

That would only strengthen the quarterback's bargaining power next offseason.


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