Everyone knows that the Giants would like Eli Manning to continue being their quarterback beyond the 2015 season, but just how much is the team willing to pay in order to make that happen? Manning’s contract expires after the upcoming season, and no agreement has been reached as far as a possible extension is concerned.
It’s not as though Manning’s performance is declining, either. The veteran is coming off of a campaign in which he completed a career-high 63.1 percent of his passes. His 30 touchdowns and 4,410 yards were both the second best marks of his career. Those numbers make it sound like Manning is worthy of a hefty raise, but you have to factor in his age as well.
At 34-years-old, Manning isn’t likely to be entering his prime, but a recent report from ESPN New York indicates that the quarterback is seeking a contract similar to the five-year, $99 million deal signed by Ben Roethlisberger this offseason. Like Manning, Roethlisberger was picked in the first round of the 2004 draft and has won multiple Super Bowl titles. Unlike Manning, Big Ben led his team to the playoffs in 2014.
That doesn’t mean that Roethlisberger is deserving of a big deal while Manning isn’t, but it does open a window into the thinking of the New York front office. Right now the Giants are trying to put enough talented pieces around a reinvigorated Manning to return to the postseason for the first time since 2011. That’s only going to get tougher, though, when Manning’s skills are declining while he maintains a cap hit of nearly $20 million.
If the Giants can’t build a quality team around their quarterback now, it’s only going to be harder to do so when his arm strength starts to diminish.
On the other hand, the only thing tougher than building around an aging quarterback is building around no quarterback. That could be a scenario for the Giants if they fail to extend Manning and watch him leave for a new team in 2016. It might be necessary to sign a long-term deal just to secure Manning in the short term.
The Giants have some leverage as well, though. Manning probably doesn’t want to start over with another franchise after spending his first 11 seasons with New York, and it’s going to be tough to convince a team other than the Giants to pay him through his age-39 season.
In other words, it’s still highly unlikely that the Giants and Manning don’t come to an agreement on a contract extension before the 2016 season. Neither side will get exactly what it wants, but there is too much for both parties to lose for talks to completely break down.