When the new league year begins in a little less than two weeks, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will officially become the highest paid player in the NFL. His cap hit will account for $20.85 million, which is slightly more than Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford ($20.82 million).
As it stands, the Lions are in active negotiations with Stafford on a contract extension, which will lower his 2013 cap hit, making Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco the second highest cap hit in the league at $20.35 million after the exclusive franchise tag is placed on him.
The immediate reaction to these numbers will be "Manning needs to restructure!" but Eli's 2013 cap number is already the result of multiple restructures. And with a flat cap projected over the next several years, restructuring what remains of his contract becomes a difficult, tedious and nearly impossible task given his cap numbers in 2014 and 2015, which are $20.4 million and $19.75 million respectively.
As a result of the aforementioned cap and contract situation, it's far more likely that the Giants and Manning workout a contract extension. But because he restructured his deal in early March of 2012, an extension would be considered a raise, meaning they can't begin negotiation until approximately March 8th of this year – at least that's the scenario as we understand it.
Whatever the case may be, expect the Giants and Manning to come to a new agreement that helps ease the burden here in 2013. However, don't hold your breath thinking it will be a Tom Brady-like new deal.
Update: As of today, the executive franchise tag for a QB is now $19.136 million, lowering Flacco's potential cap hit.
Also…Baltimore, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit, Detroit Lions, Eli Manning, Football, Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford, New York, New York Giants, NFL