Count Jesse Palmer among the people who would like to see Eli Manning finish his career with the Giants.
Amid an NFL Network report that Manning is seeking to become the highest-paid player with his next contract, Palmer said Wednesday that he hopes his former teammate and the Giants agree on a contract extension soon.
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"I think both on the field and off the field, he's been an unbelievable ambassador to the brand," Palmer told Newsday, "and by brand I mean the National Football League as well as the New York Giants."DatabaseEli Manning career touchdowns database
Palmer, on a call to promote the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, which recognizes college football players for their off-field leadership and volunteerism, was the Giants' third-string quarterback in 2004 during Manning's rookie season. The two also are good friends off the field -- Manning and Palmer lived in the same Hoboken apartment complex when Manning first broke into the league.
Manning is set to make $17 million in base salary this year in the final year of a six-year, $97.5 million extension he signed before the 2010 season. The other two quarterbacks drafted in the top 15 of the 2004 draft, Philip Rivers of the Chargers and Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers, have already locked up long-term extensions -- Rivers last week, Roethlisberger in March. The Panthers' Cam Newton and Russell Wilson of the Seahawks also signed extensions this summer, leaving Manning as one of the few remaining franchise quarterbacks without a long-term deal.
Manning denied the NFL Network report at training camp on Wednesday.
At age 34, this likely would be Manning's last long-term deal, so if an extension is reached he could foreseeably end his career having played solely for the Giants.
"It's so rare today to see a Dan Marino or a John Elway ... a guy that just plays his entire career in one place," said Palmer, who now serves as a college football analyst for ESPN and a special contributor for Good Morning America. "I think that's one of the things that's really special about the NFL back in the day, way before free agency kind of took its toll."
Manning enjoyed a bounce-back year in 2014 with new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, completing 63.1 percent of his passes for 4,410 yards, 30 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Entering the 2015 season, Manning ranks 15th in career passing yards (39,755), 13th in passing TDs (259) and 33rd in INTs (185).
"He's done something obviously very unique and very special there in winning two Super Bowls, and not just winning two Super Bowls but playing at an unbelievably high level to do that," Palmer said.
But with those ups have come some downs. While Manning and the Giants won Super Bowls XLII and XLIX, they've missed the playoffs in four of the last five seasons. While Palmer recognizes that the NFL is a 'what have you done for me lately' league, he pointed to the six-year, $120-million contract Joe Flacco got after the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2012 as an example of what Manning's camp and the Giants may be working through.
"People wondered why people were willing to pay him as much money as they did." Palmer said. "But the market determines value."
Still, Palmer is rooting for his friend and former teammate.
"I hope as a friend of Eli, as a New York City resident, as a former Giant, I'd love to see Eli remain in Giant blue for the rest of his career," Palmer said. "I think it's good for the league, it's good for the team."