Eli Manning has restructured his contract with the New York Giants to give the Super Bowl champions more cap room, a person familiar with the decision said Thursday.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team has not officially announced the quarterback’s deal.
Under terms of the restructuring, the Giants will guarantee $9-million (U.S.) of Manning’s $10.75-million salary in 2012. The move allows the Giants to divide the guarantee over the final four years of the contract, reduces his base salary to $1.75-million and clears roughly $6.75-million in cap space, the source said.
Manning had a career season in 2011, leading the Giants to their second Super Bowl title in five seasons. He threw for a career-high 4,933 yards, and led seven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter.
Manning’s last game-winning drive came in the 21-17 win over the Patriots in the Super Bowl in Indianapolis. He ignited the 88-yard title drive with a pinpoint 38-yard pass to Mario Manningham.
The Giants were over the cap, so the extra money will give them some wiggle space for free agency.
New York made punter Steve Weatherford its transition player last week. Three other starters are also free agents: tackle Kareem McKenzie, linebacker Chase Blackburn and cornerback Aaron Ross.
Manningham, defensive end Dave Tollefson, defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, cornerback Terrell Thomas and safety Deon Grant also can walk.
General Manager Jerry Reese also has to decide what to do with two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora and running back Brandon Jacobs, who have big contracts and are key cogs, but they are no longer starters.
“We try to make good football decisions,” Reese said during a recent conference call. “It would be great to make splashy moves in the offseason, but our goal is to make good football decisions and that’s what we try to do every year. We don’t just think about our personnel for the current year. We think a couple years down the line and that’s important.”
Umenyiora is slated to earn $3.975-million next season in the final year of a seven-year deal he signed in 2005. He had nine sacks in nine games in 2011.
Jacobs is scheduled to earn $4.4-million next season, plus a $500,000 roster bonus.