Sat, Jul 31, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Eli Manning hits record with NY Giants contract

AP , NEW YORK

Eli Manning walks to the Giants practice facility at the University at Albany in Albany, New York, Thursday.

PHOTO: AP

The first selection in the National Football League draft Eli Manning agreed to a contract with the New York Giants that will pay him a record US$20 million signing bonus, his agent said Thursday.

The quarterback's bonus is believed to be the second highest in NFL history, behind only the US$34.5 million the Indianapolis Colts gave his brother Peyton in March. That deal also was negotiated by agent Tom Condon, who represents both Manning brothers.

The Giants began training camp practices Thursday in Albany. The team would not immediately comment on its negotiations with Manning.

New York traded for Manning after he made it clear that he did not want to play for the Chargers, who had the No. 1 selection in April's draft. The Giants, who had the fourth overall choice, took another quarterback, Philip Rivers, then traded him to the Chargers along with several draft picks for the rights to Manning.

The most troublesome issue in contract talks between Condon and the Giants was not the amount of money but the complicated salary cap for first-year players imposed by the NFL's collective bargaining agreement with the players' union. Because the Giants traded a player for Manning, they were allocated money under the rookie salary cap that goes with the fourth pick. Had they traded the choice rather than the player, they would have been allowed to offer money permitted for a No. 1 selection.

Still, Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi said they would pay top-pick money to Manning. Accorsi said this week he was confident a deal would get done.

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