Or, at a minimum, they’ve chosen to pay Manning $5 million for nothing.
It’s the fifth day of the 2019 league year, and Manning is on the roster. Which means he gets a roster bonus of $5 million from the Giants.
He also is eligible for a salary of $11.5 million and a workout bonus of $500,000 in the final year of his current contract. Although the payout is only $17 million, the cap number sits at $23.2 million, which means that his franchise-tag number for 2020 would be $27.84 million.
Before scoffing at the notion of the Giants keeping him around for one more year beyond this one more year, the Giants have continued to give Eli one more year after one more year even if, objectively, he already has had several one more years too many.
If Eli Manning weren’t Eli Manning, would he still be with the Giants? It’s a fair question; between his family name and his own personal accomplishments, securing a pair of Super Bowl wins with two of the most clutch throws we’ll ever see in a championship game, Eli seemingly has received a lifetime pass from the franchise, especially after the intensely negative fan reaction to the effort to float him on an iceberg in late 2017.
This year, the Giants once again are all in with Eli. Sure, they’ve spoken openly about the “Kansas City model,” which implies that they’ll draft a quarterback this year and let him sit and learn for a season behind Eli — and which also implies this year will be the last year for Eli. But, frankly, that feels more a pre-draft misdirection than a legitimate signpost, alerting other teams to the possibility that they’ll take a quarterback with the sixth (or now the 17th) pick in round one and hoping that someone will leapfrog them for a quarterback, pushing down the board a player in whom they actually are interested.
Regardless of who has their interest come late April, Eli Manning remains the man for the New York Football Giants, even if he wouldn’t be on the roster for any other football team in the NFL.