The Giants signed their franchise Quarterback, Eli Manning to a robust 6 year, $97.5 million contract yesterday, with more than 35 million guaranteed. And the guy deserves every penny. Manning led the Giants to a stunning Super Bowl victory 2 years ago in dramatic fashion over the Patriots, and that alone paid for his contract in full. He isn’t what you would call an elite QB, but there are only 2 or 3 of those guys in the league as we speak. However you slice it, Eli must sit near the top of a large group in the next tier of guys, because he owns a ring and a Super Bowl MVP.
Eli is not a stat guy, and he never will be. He’s not flashy, and will mix in the occasional ugly throw, but he’s as durable a player at the qb position as there is in league, without a missed start (71 straight) since taking over behind center. The guy plays every week, which is an over looked quality. Even with a Super Bowl under his belt, Eli still doesn’t get a ton of credit, and may be even somewhat over looked in the upper echelon of QB’s. But he wins games year in and year out, and that’s the point isn’t it? The younger Manning is a rock at the most important position on the field for the Giants; he’s as unflappable and even-keeled as they come. This trait is key at the Quarterback position, and his poise in the huddle and the pocket helps every player to remain calm in pressure situations. Eli is more of a care taker than a play maker in the Giants power running offense, but he does exactly what is asked of him, doing a beautiful job of taking care of the ball since their run to the Super Bowl. All Giant fans are aware of Eli’s uncanny knack for stepping up his level when it counts in the 4th quarter, and he always seems to make that big throw in a tight spot when they really need it. His composure in those situations is why there are few QB’s in the league I’d rather have running the show in crunch time, and is why everyone in that locker room trusts and believes in him.
No, Eli will never be Peyton, but he doesn’t have to be. The Giants are happy with the Manning they have as the face of their franchise. He’s smart, has top notch work ethic and is a true professional. It may seem like a ton of money, but for a Super Bowl winning QB, with his intangibles, it’s about going rate. If Matt Cassel is worth 63 million off 1 season as a starter, then a 28 year old Manning entering his prime is well worth 97.5. And I don’t believe we’ve seen the best of Eli, not by a long shot.
It’s hard to believe he will be entering his 6th year in the league this fall. He is one of the longest tenured players on the Giant, and he’s the teams leader. It hasn’t always been pretty, but I don’t think any Giant fan could have asked for more thus far. You want 300 yard, 3 touchdown games go see his brother. Eli has taken a lot of heat over the years in a town that can be harsh, but he’s brushed if off his shoulder with class, and gone about his business. And all that’s paid off cause he’s a made man in New York now.
As unsavory as it was, he gets a free pass for last year’s playoff performance against the Eagles, and this contract will come with the pressure and expectations of another Super Bowl title. I am looking forward to him continuing to grow as a QB, and Giant fans should have a lot to be excited about over the next few years. New York is as complete a team as there is in the league and will be amongst the favorites to return to the Super Bowl. But don’t expect that to bother Eli. He’ll be in the film room studying tape.
Just getting started on the NFL here…so far just the local stuff. But in the coming weeks expect more and more about everything NFL as training camp and preseason begin to unfold…