Former New York Giants quarterback and ESPN ManningCast co-host Eli Manning wanted to clarify a joke he made regarding Russell Wilson’s contract during Monday’s Week 3 showdown between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.
During the broadcast with Peyton Manning and Pat McAfee, Eli joked that the Denver Broncos should have paid $235 million to punter Corliss Waitman instead of Russell Wilson.
Wilson was traded to the Broncos in a blockbuster deal with the Seattle Seahawks in the offseason. Before the regular season, the future Hall of Famer signed a massive five-year contract extension worth $245 million.
Speaking to Front Office Sports, the two-time Super Bowl champion and MVP clarified the $235 million joke and explained that they’re not “trying to be critical” on the ManningCast:
“No, I don’t think we’re trying to be critical. I think we always try to support the guys that are in the game. I think sometimes, ‘Hey, it’s live TV.’ I never try to take a real shot at somebody. I think that was obviously a very outrageous joke — because a punter had 10 punts. Nothing against Russell. He’s going to do great.”
For what it’s worth, Wilson himself didn’t seem to be offended by the joke. The 33-year-old had a humorous response when asked about it on Wednesday. Wilson pointed out that he won all three matchups against “Chad Powers“.
Wilson played against Manning and the Giants in the 2013 and 2014 regular seasons, both blowout victories for Seattle. The two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks met again in New York in 2017, with Seattle winning soundly 24-7.
Manning’s joke about Wilson’s contract is obviously a reference to Denver’s struggles on offense. The team is averaging just 14.3 points per game through three weeks, the second-lowest mark in the NFL.
Waitman was especially busy in the Broncos’ 11-10 home win against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, attempting 10 punts in the contest. He punted just once against Seattle in Week 1 and five times against the Houston Texans in Week 2.
Through three games as a Bronco, Wilson has completed 59.4 percent of his pass attempts for 743 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He’ll try to get the offense on track when they visit the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.