By the end of the 2019 season, Eli Manning will have been paid more than any player in NFL history. And he's about to get $5 million closer to his goal.
The Giants' 38-year-old quarterback will, as expected, get his $5 million roster bonus - yet another signal that Manning will be the Giants' starting quarterback this year. According to his contract, he is due the bonus if he's on the roster by the end of the fifth day of the league year.
Technically, Sunday is five days after the start of the new league year, but Manning's bonus will kick in on Monday, according to an NFL source.
Whenever the check clears, it's a bonus he's been expected to receive for months. The Giants have long planned to go with Manning as their 2019 starter, in large part because they had no other options. He is also due a salary of $11.5 million this season and a $500,000 workout bonus. He will count for $23.2 million against the Giants' salary cap.
The Giants could have tried to reduce that number, but there is no indication they approached their franchise quarterback about a pay cut or a restructuring of his contract. A restructuring would have been particularly difficult because 2019 is the final year of Manning's contract. In order to restructure it - convert some of his salary into a pro-ratable bonus - the Giants would've had to add a year or two to his current deal.
They did not appear interested in doing that, especially since they are intent on using Manning as part of what Giants GM Dave Gettleman called "the Kansas City model" of grooming Manning's eventual replacement. The Giants plan is to find a young quarterback to be Manning's successor - either in the draft or by a trade - and have him sit for a year while learning from Manning.
Then, in 2020, the successor will take over and Manning, if he chooses to continue playing, will have to be someplace else.
If they're able to find that successor this offseason, that will set up 2019 as a farewell tour for Manning, who has been the Giants' starting quarterback since 2004. Assuming his contract does not change, in his 16 NFL seasons Manning will have earned more than $250 million.
His brother, Peyton, is currently the NFL's all-time highest-paid player with career earnings of $248.7 million.