New York Giants Reluctant To Extend Eli Manning’s Contract?


On Thursday, GmenHQ learned via a Dan Graziano report, that the Giants were unlikely to extend Eli Manning this winter.  The Giants Professor told you this was a wise move, given Eli’s age, erratic recent performance, and the fact that the team could always franchise-tag the Quarterback as a last-resort next season.

Yesterday, Giants beat reporter, Jordan Raanan, provided further insight into the Giants’ thought process and the strategy behind this approach to the two-time Super Bowl MVP’s contract.  The Giants Professor asked Raanan, on Twitter, whether he felt the Giants would extend Manning in order to clear cap space for free agent signings.  Raanan’s response was interesting:

"“Maybe. It all depends on what the Giants do early in free agency. Right now, it appears the plan is to address it only on an “as-need” basis. If the Giants make some big moves and need more money, they’ll approach Manning for an extension. Otherwise, it’s not something they need to do right now. They have enough available cap space to make some significant moves and can always negotiate with Manning during the season as well. There not overly concerned about him walking after next season and, right now, there is no pressing need to commit to Manning into his late 30’s, especially when the organization is fully focused on making the playoffs this year before making any moves for the future.”"

Raanan’s revelation expands on what we’ve heard from Graziano: the Giants are not eager, nor actively looking, to extend Manning. More than that, it is not Manning’s contract status that will determine the Giants’ free agent spending this off-season.  It is the reverse: the Giants’ free agent activity is what will determine Eli’s contract status beyond 2015.

Some will find this stunning, but is becoming clear that the Giants would prefer that Eli play out 2015 to earn his next (and likely last) contract.  Previous reports –extending as far back as 2013– had indicated that the Giants were committed to renegotiating Eli’s contract, ensuring that he never faces lame-duck status in 2015 and opening up spending flexibility for the cap-restricted organization. Some members of the media expressed surprise when Eli was not extended last season, as they had reported he would be.

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In this crucial early period of free agency, each day that passes make it more and more unlikely that the Giants will commit to Manning past 2015.

It’s difficult to miss the message: the Giants have no interest in extending Eli Manning on his own merits and recent performance.  Only if free agency warrants opening up the pocketbook, will they consider going in that direction.

The Giants Professor says:  It is becoming apparent that while the Giants are cautious about not displaying any public disrespect toward the man who led the team to two Super Bowl titles, there appears to be internal uncertainty about what Eli has left.  If the organization makes Manning play out 2015 as a lame-duck, how much will he be worth at season’s end, at 35-years-of-age?  What if he misses the playoffs for the fourth straight season?

At 38, Giants legend Phil Simms had a terrific season in 1993, but he was released due to salary cap concerns in 1994.  The Giants are classy and respectful, but they are not sentimental when it comes to contracts and performance.  We think the writing is on the wall: 2015 might be Eli Manning’s last season as a Giant.

Next: Poll: What Should New York Giants Address First In FA?

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