Eli Manning set to earn record deal

Eli Manning will look down field to many Eli Manning will look down field to many different receivers.

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ALBANY - Jerry Reese entered the dining hall at the University of Albany for lunch this afternoon and said he was “hopeful” that a contract will be finalized with Eli Manning. By the time he returns there for dinner this evening, he will likely have made Manning the richest quarterback in the NFL.

“He’s a franchise quarterback,” Reese said after stating that there was nothing new to report on the deal. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s come in, he takes a lot of flack from you guys (in the media), and he just keeps going. He does what we ask him to do on the field, he does what we ask him to do off the field. He’s a good football player.”

According to sources, Manning and the Giants have agreed to terms on a six-year extension worth $97.5 million with $35 million guaranteed. Factoring in this season, the final one under his rookie contract, Manning’s pact with the Giants will be for seven years and $106.9 million.

That’s $15.2 million per year, the largest multi-year average in NFL history. Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers will earn $16.7 million in a one-year franchise tender this year.

The deal has not been signed or officially announced, but that is expected to take place sometime today. Manning will be in meetings between 2 and 4:30 p.m.

Manning, a former No. 1 overall draft pick, is entering his sixth year as the Giants’ quarterback. He led the team to a victory in Super Bowl XLII and was named the game’s MVP and last season made the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.

This season, his first without veteran receivers, the Giants will be leaning on Manning even more than in the past.

“Our QB is not a (rookie) anymore,” general manager Jerry Reese said in the spring when talking about the lack of experienced receivers on the roster. “He is a Pro Bowler. We’ll put some of this on his back.”

Apparently they will put some of it in his back pocket as well. The deal surpasses Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha ($15.1 million) as the highest-paid player in the NFL on a average-per-year basis. Peyton Manning’s 2004 deal with the Colts was the highest average-per-year contract for a quarterback before this one. Peyton Manning was earning $14.7 million per season, but the total value of his deal does not exceed $100 million.

“Contracts are contracts, none of them are easy,” Reese said. “You always have to make decisions about what you will do and what you won’t do. All of them are different and none of them are easy.”

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