Eli Manning has given the New York Giants’ organization two Super Bowls, never missed a snap due to injury, and been a model teammate and citizen during his fifteen-year tenure.
Much has been made of the current predicament the New York Giants organization and Eli Manning are currently in. At this juncture, it’s incumbent upon him to realize that any salary he gives the team a break on will only help to extend his career.
For the better part of two years, it seems like all fans and the media alike have talked about is whether or not Manning has anything left in the tank, and if it makes any sense to keep him around. What most have failed to realize is that Eli and the organization are both each others best options moving forward at this point.
At 38-years old, with extremely limited athletic ability, any reasonable person outside of Archie Manning realizes that Eli would draw little to no serious interest on the open market. At best Manning could hope to latch on to one of the handful of teams without a future plan at the position, sign on for minimal money, and possibly compete for playing time.
Even an optimist would list those opportunities to be somewhere between one and three teams, with it being much more likely for them to look for a younger option who could potentially stick around for the long haul.
We all know of the glorious triumphs Eli has magically endured as a New York Giant, it would be smart for him to use that sentimental value to his advantage. The organization is all he’s ever known, and he is still widely respected by most everyone in the franchise. Despite shaky offensive line play, Manning put together one the better seasons of his career and only got better as he got more familiar with the playbook.
The $252 Million Man
Although it’s more than plausible to argue that Eli Manning is consistently disrespected and under-appreciated by most around the league, one thing he is not short on is money earned during his illustrious career. While every real New York Giants fan will tell you he has been worth every penny, it’s difficult not to be anything other than shocked when seeing his $252 million career earnings number.
A rational argument can be made that any athlete, especially an NFL player, should go after every single dollar they can during their career. Nevertheless, every situation is different, and if there was ever a player who could afford to give his team some financial relief it’s Eli Manning in 2019.
Instead of holding out for every dollar he can, Eli would be smart to leverage his abundant financial security into a team-friendly contract that would help keep him around. Every million he leaves on the table would go directly back into helping build back up this depleted roster, while earning him even more respect in the locker room and among the fan base.
Gettleman needs to get creative
To be blunt, new GM Dave Gettleman had a rough first season as new head man in charge. Creative is not a word most would use to describe his efforts last off-season, but he’s going to have to be extremely creative to get out of the unenviable salary cap position the team is in. One key way he could do that is by having above average quarterback play at a far below average quarterback cap number.
Sporting just $25 million dollars in effective salary cap space, along with $10 million in dead cap charges, Gettleman has almost no chance to find his QB in free agency (even if there were any to choose from). Even worse would be reaching for a quarterback of the future in a year where it looks like there aren’t any. It is becoming more apparent that Gettleman’s best course of action is to ride it out with Eli for one more year.
It’s no secret that Manning’s $23+ million cap number next year is flat out unworkable. The reasonable thing to do would to work off the $6.2 million Eli would be owed if let go as a sort of ground floor guarantee number in a restructured deal. An approximate three year, $45 million deal with $12-$15 million guaranteed (spread out over two years) would seem to be very fair for both sides.
This type of deal would give Eli double the amount of guaranteed money that he has now, with the chance to stick around for another year or two at a decent rate if he improves his play and the team succeeds. It also buys Gettleman and company more time to assess the upcoming draft classes without forcing their hand into a move that could set the franchise back even more.
If Eli exceeds all expectations, the team could certainly revisit the deal next off season and have incentive to guarantee more money. This kind of deal would also give Eli the chance to possibly stick around and be an affordable and reliable veteran backup to mentor the future at the position. Bottom line, it’s also more than Eli will fetch on the open market; and it’s for the same team he has been with for his entire hall of fame career.