We heard yesterday that the delay in the finalization of the nearly-nine-figure Eli Manning contract arose from issues between CAA, which handles Manning’s football negotiations, and IMG, which still represents him for marketing purposes.
We then were told by a source with knowledge of the situation that it’s not a CAA-IMG thing, but that the delay arises from “language” in the Manning-Giants contract.
So we’ve since picked up some more information that harmonizes the two competing nuggets.
Per a league source, the Giants hope to secure a right of first refusal on behalf of the franchise’s sponsors, which would give the sponsors a chance to pull Eli Manning within the scope of the advertising deals that the team has struck.
This issue last arose for a high-profile player in 2005, when a desire by the Browns generally to secure a right of first refusal for receiver Braylon Edwards’ marketing opportunities held up their efforts to ink Edwards to a rookie contract. (Eventually, the Browns relented.)
In Manning’s case, one potential conflict between his own marketing deals and the team’s sponsorship arrangements involves, of all things, watches. Manning is a spokesman for Citizen; the Giants have a deal with Timex.
So with CAA handling the football contract and the football contract potentially impacting the marketing rights represented by IMG, it’s a delicate situation — and for now it’s keeping the deal from getting done.