CHICAGO - Eli Manning said Sunday the Giants haven't approached him about extending his contract, which is set to expire after the 2015 season.
Surprised, Kurt Warner?
"I'm surprised, but I won't say I'm as surprised as I probably would have been five years ago," said Warner, the former Super Bowl winning quarterback who played with the Giants in 2004, Manning's rookie season. "I think you're seeing more and more of this, where teams let guys get to the point where they talk about letting them go. I just think it's the nature of the deal is that, because so much money is thrown at the quarterback position, that you don't want to throw out a $100-million contract that could strap the team a little bit without really feeling comfortable that that quarterback can give you five more years, that that quarterback can be the quarterback that took you to Super Bowls."
That's not saying the Giants won't end up signing Manning, 34, to a long-term extension sometime before his current deal is up. The team simply hasn't addressed the issue as of now. And Warner, now an NFL Network analyst, wouldn't be shocked to see the Giants re-up on a new deal that would likely be worth well over $100 million, the going rate for Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. Manning is set to make $17 million this season.
"Fair or unfair, a lot of players have gotten contracts for what they did before and a lot get contracts for what they're going to earn in the future and there are organizations that say, 'Prove it to us one more time,' " Warner said. "The Joe Flaccos [of the Ravens]. All right, let's roll the dice [on the final year of the contract]. As a quarterback you have to say, 'This is my opportunity. If I prove it, I'm going to get my $100-million contract, whether it's in New York or somewhere else, I've got one more year to do it.' As a competitor, you kind of like that. I understand where [the Giants] are coming from, but I would also understand if they signed him to a $100-million contract and said, 'Man, this guy has taken us to two Super Bowls. How do we let him walk away?' "
Warner doesn't believe Manning will be affected one way or another by the contract.
"I think he's going to respond like he always does. He's going to be relaxed and calm and not get too upset and go out and play the way that he plays," said Warner, a finalist for the Hall of Fame last January. "That's the one thing I love about Eli. Although he's had some ups and downs and had some inconsistencies, he's even-keeled and he plays his best at the biggest moments and that's what he's got an opportunity to do right now. It's a big moment. He's got an opportunity to write his future."