[NOTE: 'The League,' The Washington Post's NFL blog, asked me to weigh in on the debate over the mega-contract the Giants are giving Eli Manning. They are offering opinions from several different writers. My thoughts are below, re-printed from The Post.]
Apparently, the world is all a-Twitter about a Manning now being the highest-paid player in the NFL. The fact that it will be Eli, not Peyton, seems to have people howling from every possible direction.
Search 'Eli Manning' on Twitter and you'll get an idea of what I am talking about. There are some funny 'tweets,' including some young ladies wishing they could be Eli's bride. Sorry, ladies, that job is taken. Mostly, though, there is indignation.
That sentiment, of course, has also spread across the blogosphere. Perhaps no one has expressed it better than the esteemed 'MJD' at Shutdown Corner.
There were reasons the Giants had to do this. Eli is a good young quarterback, he's earned his stripes in New York City and you don't let guys like that get away. If $97 million over six years is market value, and Eli won't accept anything less, then the Giants almost have to give it to him.
But did you know that our brand new highest-paid player in the game finished 14th in the league last year in quarterback rating? That he was 9th in DVOA?
I'm not saying that makes him a bad quarterback, of course, but it does make him a second-tier quarterback. It makes him a non-elite quarterback. And it makes him an absolute nightmare for any general manager with an elite quarterback who is going to want a new contract anytime soon.
To that I say, 'pffft.' Who really cares how much money Eli makes?
Sure, he is the highest-paid player in the league. This week. Next week, or next month, it will be somebody else. A year or so from now the fact that Eli was once the highest-paid player in the league will simply be a footnote.
Fact is, as soon as Eli threw the game-winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl 42 it was fait accompli that once his contract came due he would end up the highest-paid player in the game. At least for a while.
The paycheck really doesn't matter. Even Giants fans are split on whether or not he is overpaid. Me? Sure, I think he is overpaid. Most NFL players -- in fact, most athletes -- are. Fact is, his contract was due, he is a Super Bowl-winning franchise quarterback, the Giants think he will win more Super Bowls before he is through (and I agree). The Giants did what they had to do.
Eli is the right quarterback for the New York Giants at the right time. He is a Giant for the next seven years. That makes me happy. And that is what I care about. Regardless of his paycheck.