(Long Island, NY) Becoming the highest paid person in your profession is quite an accomplishment in any field. When it comes in the sports world, where some owners throw money around as if they had a printing press in the bowels of their home stadiums, the importance of that fact grows ten-fold.
By signing a six-year, $97.5 million contract extension, Eli Manning’s annual salary jumps to $15.27 million. Amongst his NFL brethren, that total tops the list. Julius Peppers ($16.683 million) and Carson Palmer ($16.166 million) are the only players in the NFL that will earn more but have shorter deals.
“All of us – Eli and this organization – are pleased to have this officially done,” Giants general manager Jerry Reese said in a statement. “Our total focus is on our performance on the field and being the best team we can be in 2009.”
The MVP of Super Bowl XLII seemed to be relieved that the contract talks are done before the regular season kicks off. “Well, it’s good just to get it out of the way, don’t have to worry about anything else and just get ready for the season,” said Manning, who was entering his walk year before the extension was signed.
Negotiations began nine days before the actual signing of the deal but that did not seem to bother Manning. “We just had to work out some language and it’s just part of contracts,” he said. No doubt that some of that language had to do with money and it is quite amazing that Manning has eclipsed not only his older brother Peyton, but also Tom Brady in salary. Any extra pressure knowing that?
“My job is to play quarterback for the New York Giants and try to win games,” said Manning. “Nothing has changed, our responsibility hasn’t changed. I’m trying to go out there, do my part, play well and lead this team.”
In all likelihood, both Brady and Peyton Manning should receive larger contracts when their time for a raise arrives but that doesn’t change what will take place all year. Every time a ‘wounded duck’ thrown by Manning stalls a Giants drive, the fans and newspapers will be reminding us of the rich contract.
Manning has been a steady and sometimes spectacular quarterback since being the top overall draft pick out of Ole Miss in 2004. For his career, he has thrown 98 touchdowns and 74 interceptions. 14,623 passing yards and a 86.4 quarterback rating round out his stats. Manning has been selected to only one Pro Bowl, which occurred this past season.
Peyton, taken first back in 1998, has a 333-165 touchdown-to-interception ratio, 45,628 yards and a 94.7 QB rating. He also has one ring and a Super Bowl MVP (XLI), but has been named NFL MVP three times (2003, 2004, 2008) and has represented the AFC in Hawaii nine times.
A sixth round draft in 2000, Brady rose from obscurity to become a four-time Pro Bowl selection, the 2007 NFL MVP, three-time Super Bowl champion (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX) and two-time MVP of the big game (XXXVI, XXXVIII). The former Michigan Wolverine has thrown 111 more touchdowns (197-86) than picks, 26,446 yards and a 92.9 rating.
Just going by the numbers, there is no question that the younger Manning is down in the pecking order of top quarterbacks in the NFL, regardless of what the contracts say. Were the Giants paying a little extra for comfort and the fact that Manning is a former Super Bowl hero?
Reese will never admit that but from the outside looking in, it is plain that this was a case of dollars and sense as opposed to dollars and cents.