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Eli Manning taking it to the bank with new contract

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ALBANY, N.Y. - Eli Manning knows who will be paying him to throw the football through 2015. Now he needs to find out who will be catching it.

On the verge of signing a six-year contract extension, one that will make him the NFL's highest paid player at an average annual salary of $15.3 million per year, Manning is locked in as a New York Giant.

It's his go-to guys who are gone.

Plaxico Burress was released in April, about four months after he accidentally shot himself in the thigh at a Manhattan nightclub. Amani Toomer was not re-signed after 13 seasons and is with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Since 2005, Manning's first full season as a starter, Burress and Toomer combined for 443 catches and 50 touchdowns.

Manning isn't without targets, as veteran Steve Smith, who led the Giants with 57 catches last season, is likely to claim one of the starting spots. Smith's emergence last season boosted the Giants' confidence in the third-year pro, though he isn't nearly as accomplished as Burress or Toomer.

The competition for the other spot is wide open , and crowded. Vying for the job are youngsters Domenik Hixon, Sinorice Moss and Mario Manningham, veteran David Tyree and rookies Hakeem Nicks, the first-round draft pick, and Ramses Barden, the big third-round choice who reminds people of 'Plax.'

"I feel like we have as much talent as we have ever had," said Tyree, who is best remembered for his remarkable helmet catch during the game-winning drive over the Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl, the one Burress capped with the winning TD reception.

"The issue is the inexperience at the position."

The five veterans have made a total of 19 career starts. Hixon leads the group with eight, including seven a year ago.

It's no wonder many question whether the Giants have anyone who provide the deep threat that Burress brought or the consistency that Toomer showed in his 13 seasons in New York.

For the receivers, the doubters are their rallying point.

"We all have something to prove, so as a group it helps a lot because every time you get the opportunity you are trying to take it to the next level," Moss said. "So whatever chance you get, short pass, deep pass, you are trying to do something with it. It is putting the edge on us to go over the top in whatever you do."

Moss has done little in his four seasons with the Giants. Since training camp opened at the University at Albany, he has been the one receiver to show an ability to go deep.

Smith has emerged as the most sure-handed guy, although he dropped what would have been a sure touchdown pass from Manning earlier this week in practice.

"I came in with two vets here and now they're gone, so I think it's my time to step in," Smith said. "I need to make plays, and go out there and try to minimize mistakes and make a lot of plays and get on the same page as Eli."

Hixon caught 43 passes for a team-high 596 yards last season with two going for touchdowns. However, he also had a memorable drop on a long pass against the Eagles late in the season.

Since camp opened, he has been penciled in as the No. 2 receiver.

"It's great to start out there, but it's more important to end up there," Hixon said. "This is an opportunity you dream of as a kid, to be a starter in the NFL. I still take it the same way, though. You have to go out and do your job."

Manningham, Nicks and Barden have the longest way to go.

A second-round pick a year ago, Manningham suffered a quadriceps injury in training camp and was limited to eight regular-season games and four receptions.

Nicks and Barden have shown an ability to catch the ball in training camp, but their biggest job now is learning a new offense.

"Until you learn the playbook, it's not football," Barden said. "You are thinking a lot and you're cautious on going full speed all the time. As soon as you can get comfortable and know what you are doing, the sooner you can react and play with the instincts you have learned over the last how many years you have played the game."

Watching Manning, it's easy to see his unfamiliarity with some of the receivers. He'll throw a pass in practice and then seemingly look at the receiver, pointing this way and that with his arms, clearly indicating the player ran a route that wasn't in the playbook.

Manning admits that getting on the same page with the receivers will take time, especially considering they had not worked out for the last six weeks.

"We have some playmakers. We have some talented guys," Manning said. "There is a bunch of us. It's kind of weeding through and seeing who is going to step up for us day in and day out and make some plays for us."

ALBANY - The Giants are about to make Eli Manning the NFL's highest-paid player, and as far as they're concerned, he's worth every penny.

The 28-year-old quarterback and former Super Bowl MVP has agreed to terms on a new deal that will pay him $106.9 million over the next seven years, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. He'll get a six-year, $97.5 million extension on his current contract, which calls for him to earn $9.4 million this season.

It's not the largest deal in NFL history, but the average of $15.27 million between now and 2015 when the deal expires is an NFL record. The total package also will make Manning the eighth member of the $100 million-quarterback club.

The contract - which is expected to include $35 million in guaranteed money and pay him $41 million over the first two seasons - had not been finalized or signed as of yesterday, although Giants GM Jerry Reesesaid he was "hopeful" that the deal would be done soon.

When asked if Manning deserves the money being discussed, Reese didn't hesitate.

"Sure he does," Reese said. "He's a franchise quarterback. He's come in, he takes a lot of flak from (the media) and he just keeps going. He does what we ask him to do on the field. He does what we ask him to do off the field. He's a good football player."

The deal has been in the works since late last year, as the Daily News first reported in January. The talks, however, had gotten off to a slow start. According to one NFL source, Manning's agent, Tom Condon, was initially seeking a deal worth around $20 million per season, at which the Giants balked.

The team knew it would eventually have to make Manning a $100 million man and pay him more than the $14 million per year that his brother, Peyton, gets from theIndianapolis Colts (on a seven-year, $98 million deal signed in 2004). That was the highest average for an NFL quarterback, and it was the highest overall in the NFL until the Oakland Raiders signed cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha this spring to a three-year deal worth an average of $15.1 million per season.

Eli's new deal will eclipse them both.

Manning did not comment on his impending deal yesterday, choosing to avoid the waiting media by slipping out the back door of the team cafeteria. However, he told the Daily News in the spring that he had no interest in becoming the league's highest-paid player, saying "I have no ego about that."

There was no rush to get a deal done. Manning's original six-year contract worth between $45 and $54 million wasn't scheduled to run out until after the 2009 season. The Giants also had the option of placing the "franchise player" tag on him, if necessary, so there was no risk of him ever hitting free agency.

Despite some struggles at the end of last season, nothing Manning has done since Super Bowl XLII has changed the Giants' perception of their quarterback. He made the Pro Bowl last season for the first time after completing 60.3% of his passes (289-for-479) for 3,238 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

"That's good. He'll be around here for a long time," said cornerback Corey Webster, who got his own five-year, $43.5 million extension last fall. "I think they've been doing the right thing around here for a while. We've been moving in the right direction. I think this is another step."

Giants schedule 2009-2010

WHO IS THE HIGHEST PAID ATHLETE IN THE WORLD ?

If you mean per year, than either Alex Rodriguez or David Beckham. If you mean just over a period of time, than Tiger Woods for sure. 

Tiger Woods gets the most with his endorsements. He made over 87 million dollars in 2004 alone.

Race car driver Michael Schumacher made $80 million in 2004, Peyton Manning made $42 million, Michael Jordan made $35 million, and Shaquille O'Neal made $31.9 million dollars in 2004.

A-Rod signed a 10-year 256 million dollar contract.

Answer

As at 26 of June 2009, Cristiano Rolando became the World Highest paid athlete after signing a six-year contract worth £80 million or $132 million with Real Madrid soccer club of Spain. 

According to Forbes, from the period of June 2003 to June 2004, the highest paid athlete was Tiger Woods, at $80.3 million. Closely following him is Michael Schumacher, a German race car driver who drives for Ferrari as the main driver and made $80 million, with a salary before endorsements of around $50-$60 million . Rounding out the top 5 are Peyton Manning at $42 mil, Michael Jordan, at $35 mil, and Shaq, at $31.9 mil. Keep in mind that a lot of (or all of) the money comes from endorsements.

A-ROD has a $250 mill guarantee deal with the yankees and baseball players get paid the most from any other sport there are so many games. manny was getting $3,000 an at bat last year


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