Eli Manning must earn his new deal -- and that's a good thing for him and Giants

One-on-One with The MMQB: Roger Goodell

Eli Manning has clearly been put on notice by the New York Giants.

The big question is why it took so long for them to get the message across to their two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

While he may not think so at this moment, it's probably good news for the quarterback.

Manning has one year to go on his contract, and the Giants will pay him $17 million for his services. While that sounds good to 99.99 percent of us, it's actually below the going rate for an NFL starting quarterback, especially one with Super Bowl rings to his credit.

A new standard was set for veteran quarterbacks last week when the Pittsburgh Steelers signed their longtime signal-caller and two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger to a four-year, $87.4 million deal.

The Giants are aware of Manning's status, and they don't seem to mind that he doesn't have a contract for the 2016 season and beyond at this point. Owner John Mara addressed the issue and gave a lukewarm endorsement to the idea of making sure that Manning finishes his career with the Giants.

"We'd certainly prefer to do it (sign an extension) before the season, but if it doesn't happen, we're still going to line up and play," Mara said during the owners meetings in Arizona.

In other words, Mara would like to see Manning prove that he is still capable of playing consistent football over a 16-game season before the team commits to him for the closing years of his career.

Manning, 34, has struggled quite a bit since the Giants' last Super Bowl season in 2011. They have been a woeful 13-19 over the last two seasons, and that kind of performance does not make their starting quarterback worthy of a Roethlisberger-like extension.

That does not mean agent Tom Condon is not going to try to get it for his client. Condon has been one of the NFL's most powerful agents for years, and it's a blow to his client to have to prove himself at this stage of his career.

While the Giants are rarely critical of their quarterback publicly, the truth is that he has not played up to the six-year, $97.5-million contract he signed in 2009.

There is certainly legitimate hope that Manning can prove himself worthy in the 2015 season. He was much better last year than he had been in his two previous seasons. The addition of rookie Odell Beckham Jr. gave the Giants passing game new life, and there's no reason to think Beckham (91 -- 1,305 -- 12) won't be even better in 2015 than he was last year.

Additionally, the return of explosive Victor Cruz (missed 10 games due to torn ACL) could give the Giants one of the most dangerous downfield passing attacks in the NFL. They will certainly need to be, if they are going to compete with "genius" Chip Kelly and the high-powered Philadelphia Eagles offense as well as the defending division champion Dallas Cowboys.

After a disastrous 2013 season in which Manning completed just 57.5 percent of his passes for 3,818 yards and had an 18:27 TD-interception ratio, the Giants quarterback looked like a new man as he completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 4,410 with 30 TDs and 18 interceptions last season.

More than anything, the 2014 season was good for Manning's confidence. It showed him he could still put the ball on the money on medium- and long-range passes after two years of shoddy play.

If Manning really wants a new contract, he should not want to get a deal that is similar to the one that Roethlisberger signed. He needs a better deal than that, and if the Giants are going to come across with that kind of payday for him, Manning has to earn it.

The Giants have shown they believe that they don't have to go another season without making the playoffs. They would not have brought head coach Tom Coughlin back to coach one more season if they believed that a full rebuilding effort was needed. Coughlin will be 69 years old at the start of the season, and he's not changing anything at this point in his career.

The Giants may have been 6-10 last season, but they are gearing up for one more run with the old gang -– and a few shiny new pieces.

Should the Giants make the playoffs and Manning stays healthy during the run, he will almost certainly get his Roethlisberger-like deal.

However, if the Giants get near the top of the NFC or even make a run at the Super Bowl, Manning may just get a deal that exceeds the one that Big Ben just signed.

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Eli Manning must earn his new deal -- and that's a good thing for him and Giants
JUPITER, FL - MARCH 22: Dee Gordon #9 of the Miami Marlins watches a bunted ball during the first inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins at Roger Dean Stadium on March 22, 2015 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 18: Dominic Moore #28 of the New York Rangers falls into the net after getting hit from behind by Kimmo Timonen #44 of the Chicago Blackhawks at Madison Square Garden on March 18, 2015 in New York City. The puck crossed the line but was ruled no goal because a whistle had blown. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
A jogger runs during the sunset after a warm spring day on March 16, 2015, in the Olympic park in Munich, southern Germany. Meteorologists forecast temperatures around 15 degrees and further sun in the region. AFP PHOTO/CHRISTOF STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
A lone Italian flag is waved amongst a sea of Juventus' flags during the Round of 16, second-leg UEFA Champions League football match Borussia Dortmund vs Juventus in Dortmund, western Germany on March 18, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 22: Marcelo Vieira of Real Madrid jumps over Xavi Hernandez of FC Barcelona during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou on March 22, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Real Madrid via Getty Images)
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22: Phil Davis and Shane Mumford of the Giants and Sam Naismith of the Swans contest a mark during the NAB Challenge AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Sydney Swans at Star Track Oval on March 22, 2015 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
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CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 20: Taj Gibson #22 of the Chicago Bulls yells as he dunks over Patrick Patterson #54 of the Toronto Raptors in his first game back from injury at the United Center on March 20, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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