Eli Manning on highest-paid report: 'It's never come out of my mouth'

ByDan Graziano ESPN logo
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A clearly annoyed New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning on Wednesday disputed an NFL Network report that he's seeking to become the highest-paid player in the NFL.

"The reports are all wrong," Manning said before Giants practice. "That's never been said, it's never come out of my mouth, I've never said it to my agent, I don't know where people are getting their information."

Manning said he heard about the report Tuesday when his father, Archie Manning, called him and was upset. Eli said he laughed and then called the Giants' media relations department to see what was going on.

Manning is entering the final year of his contract and has yet to reach an extension, though other quarterbacks in similar situations have done so this offseason. San Diego's Philip Rivers, Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger, Carolina's Cam Newton and Seattle's Russell Wilson all have signed contract extensions this offseason. The Giants and Manning have had some discussions, but each side has made it clear it's OK with waiting until after the season if need be.

"I don't think about it," Manning said. "I'm not concerned about it. My focus is on practice and getting the best out of our practices and getting better."

A source says the Giants' initial offer to Manning was for $17.5 million a year, which is what he's making this year and is less than other quarterbacks such as the Bears' Jay Cutler and the Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill.

Manning said he checks in from time to time with his agent, Tom Condon, to see how talks are progressing. But he said he doesn't do it very often because he wants to leave Condon alone to do his job. Asked whether it was possible that Condon could have communicated Manning's desire to be the highest-paid player in his discussions with the Giants, Manning said no.

"I know that was never said by him, claiming that was the goal," Manning said. "I don't compare myself to other quarterbacks that way, in terms of salaries."

Manning went so far as to accuse the reporter who reported the story of "trying to make a name for himself," which is a strong accusation and a clear indicator that he's bothered by the way he and his contract demands were presented Tuesday.

Manning and the Giants are certain to come to an agreement at some point, and the Giants have expressed a preference that something get done before the season if possible. But sources familiar with the team's thinking have been insisting since the winter that they are comfortable playing out the year and either doing the extension next year or franchising Manning to keep him off the market. His franchise tag number would be in the neighborhood of $24 million, which is high, but not a lot higher than his $19.75 million cap cost this year.