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Manning cashing in with big postseason

This postseason, New York quarterback Eli Manning has rewarded the Giants for dealing for him after he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. And the Giants have rewarded Manning for the best back-to-back games of his career.

Manning earned $500,000 in bonuses for the Giants' two playoff victories -- $250,000 for beating Tampa Bay in the wild-card round, and another $250,000 for beating Dallas in the divisional playoffs, according to the language in the quarterback's contract.

But this could be just the start of Manning cashing in. Should the Giants beat the Packers in Sunday night's NFC Championship Game in Green Bay, Manning would earn another $500,000. So it is not just the NFC Championship Game for Manning; it is the half-million-dollar NFC Championship Game.

And if Manning led the Giants to a victory in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz., on Feb. 3, he would earn another $500,000.

Good work if you can get it.

Those who know Manning know the last thing he is thinking of are the bonuses in his contract. But Manning is getting married in Mexico in March, and so far, what he has earned in the playoffs goes a long way to covering any expenses he will incur.

Man in demand

Even with a loss in Sunday's divisional playoff, it is good to be Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

The Ravens want Garrett to be their head coach.

The Falcons want Garrett to be their head coach.

The Cowboys want Garrett to be their future head coach.

And after spending Monday and Tuesday in Baltimore, then Tuesday night and Wednesday in Atlanta, Garrett must make a decision.

His first big decision was to leave Baltimore, something the Ravens were hoping would not happen. They would have preferred to sign Garrett on Tuesday. But after a visit in which they failed to strike a deal, Garrett flew to Atlanta and was scheduled to land at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Garrett wants to give a chance to Falcons owner Arthur Blank, with whom he felt a real rapport.

The Cowboys also are willing to match any salary that Garrett is offered in Atlanta or Baltimore, giving the upstart coach a third viable option.

The rest of the field

Where Garrett lands will dictate what happens next on the coaching carousel.

If Atlanta is shut out on Garrett, it could turn to former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan or Colts assistant head coach Jim Caldwell.

Ryan interviewed with the Falcons in Atlanta on Monday for the second time. He brought his wife with him, a sure sign of a team's high level of interest.

But one key factor in Atlanta's decision, according to two people familiar with the process, will be that 52 percent of the Falcons season-ticket holders are African American.

The Falcons would like to hire the best possible coach while appeasing their fan base. Caldwell would fit both criteria.

Caldwell and Seahawks defensive backs coach Jim Mora Jr. could be thrust into a similar situation. Caldwell is being wooed in Atlanta but could wind up succeeding Tony Dungy in Indianapolis if the Colts current head coach steps down.

Similarly, Mora could wind up as the Redskins head coach if he doesn't succeed Mike Holmgren should the Seahawks current head coach step down. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder's private jet is scheduled to pick up Mora Wednesday morning and whisk him to Washington for an interview.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins have the least suspenseful coaching search. Cowboys assistant head coach Tony Sparano could be introduced as Miami's next head coach as early as Wednesday. He was scheduled to travel to Miami on Tuesday night.

A former Giant

Despite interviewing in Kansas City for the Chiefs offensive coordinator job Monday, former Giants head coach Jim Fassel is expected to sift through other opportunities before making any decision.

Wherever he surfaces -- and it will be somewhere in the league this season -- Fassel is expected to take at least the next week to pick his landing spot. But it is not just Kansas City that has approached Fassel about running its offense this season.

Those who know Fassel say he is intentionally keeping a low profile, partly fulfilling a promise to the teams he has spoken to. But that will change once Fassel agrees to become an offensive coordinator somewhere sometime soon.

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