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Could Eli Be NFL’s Highest Paid Player?

This from Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News:

Eli Manningis still in line to get one of the most lucrative contracts inNFLhistory. He is just going to have to wait a little longer than expected.

Manning and the Giants remain far apart in their negotiations on a new deal, according to two NFL sources with knowledge of the talks. Nobody is panicking, even though 2009 is the last year of Manning’s rookie contract, and both sides expect a deal will eventually get done.

But they had originally hoped to do it this spring, with the Giants prepared to make Manning one of the NFL’s richest players. According to one source, Manning’s agents “want to make him the highest-paid player.” Another source suggested the Super Bowl XLII MVP’s initial asking price was up near an average of $20 million per year.

Neither Manning nor co-owner John Mara would discuss details when asked during Giants minicamp this week. And when Manning, whose original six-year deal was worth $45 million to $54 million, was asked if he wanted to be the NFL’s highest-paid player, he said, “I don’t have an ego about that.

“I’ll leave it to my agent and the Giants,” Manning said. “They’ll figure out all the details. My job is to prepare, get this team ready and let everything else play itself out.”

Though $20 million per year might be too high, league sources expect Manning – who will make $9.4 million this season – eventually will get a deal worth around $15 million per year. Several league executives and NFL agents expect the final package to be for seven or eight years and be worth around $110 million-$120 million, with more than $40 million in guaranteed money.

The largest contract in NFL history was the 10-year, $130 million deal (with $37 million in guarantees) the Atlanta Falcons gave Michael Vick in 2003. The seven-year, $98 million contract Peyton Manning got in 2004 averaged $14 million per season, which was an NFL high until this spring when the Oakland Raiders signed cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to a complicated, three-year, $45 million deal that could average $15 million per.

The Giants know the price will be high, but they have no intention of letting Manning hit free agency. Even if he plays out his contract, they likely would place the franchise tag on him next March to prevent him from going anyplace.

“Obviously we want him to spend the rest of his career here, and we’ll reach an agreement in due time,” Mara said. “But I can’t guess when that will be.”

Manning couldn’t guess either, but he said the timing doesn’t matter.

“I signed a six-year deal and I have one more year,” Manning said. “Something could happen before the season starts, but I’m not worried about it right now. I hope (it’ll get done). I’ve had a great five years here. I love the organization, I love my teammates. I hope they feel the same way. But we’ll see. You never know.”

My take: 15 million per year? First off, good for Eli. He will never, ever have to worry about money. My question is this: Why would he want to be NFL’s highest paid player? He has the pressure of being Peyton’s brother. He has the constant comparisons with Ben Rothlisberger. And now he wants the label of highest paid player? I don’t get it. Is Eli worth that kind of money? As a Super Bowl MVP, probably. But, I don’t know why he would want that stigma.

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2 Responses to “Could Eli Be NFL’s Highest Paid Player?”

  1. daneptizl says:

    Eli is good. But he is not close to being Peyton Manning good. It’s unfortunate, but they’ll end up overpaying him.

  2. Juan Pablo says:


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