ALBANY, N.Y. - The Giants don't think being the highest paid player in the NFL will change Eli Manning.
Nothing seems to.
"He is a franchise quarterback," Giants general manager Jerry
Reese said yesterday. "He has done everything we asked him to do. He has come in, taken a lot of flack from [the media] and he just keeps going. He does what we ask him on the field and he does what we ask him to do off the field."
The easygoing New Orleans native, who took over as the Giants starter midway through his rookie season in 2004, has proven a worthy No. 1 overall draft pick. In his first four NFL seasons, Manning has won a Super Bowl and was MVP of the game, helped his team to the playoffs every year and is coming off his first Pro Bowl season.
Now he's set to make more money than even older brother Peyton.
Eli Manning agreed to a six-year, $97 million contract extension, an average salary of roughly $15.3 million, according to a person close to the talks. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not signed and had not been announced, said Manning is guaranteed $35 million under the deal that will keep him with the Giants through the 2015 season.
The extension will pay Manning $200,000 per year more than All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha of the Oakland Raiders, who agreed to a three-year, $45.3 million contract this year.
Peyton Manning earns an average of $14.17 million annually with the Indianapolis Colts.
Eli Manning declined to talk to the media during lunch at Giants training camp yesterday.
Tom Condon, Manning's agent, was not immediately available for comment. Reese was hopeful Manning's contract would be completed quickly, adding it's always important to get the quarterback signed.
Reese said a lucrative new contract would not put more pressure on Manning.
"He is used to that," Reese said. "He won't get more pressure than he already has in this market. He knows how to handle pressure and he has done it before. I don't expect to see any difference in his attitude and his work ethic."
Manning was in the final year of the contract he signed as a rookie in 2004 and will make $9.4 million under that deal this season.