New York Giants starting quarterback Eli Manning is paid a lot.
When it was signed back in August of 2009, Eli's contract extension made him the highest paid player in the history of the NFL. Eli is now entering the final year of that contract, and the Giants are faced with the sticky decision about what to do next.
The Giants are certainly hoping that Eli will work with them and the two sides can come to a mutually beneficial agreement that pays Eli handsomely while also giving the Giants the cap flexibility to extend their young core of talent. However, it seems likely that Eli will want to continue to be paid as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.
But should he be? ESPN disagrees with the notion pretty strongly, listing Eli as the third-most overpaid player in the NFL
Odell Beckham Jr.'s presence helped Eli Manning a lot in 2014, but he remains just an average NFL quarterback. -- -- Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports
2015 cap hit: $19.7 million
2015 JVM: $7.6 million
Value differential: $12.1 million
There was a time, after Manning's second Super Bowl run, when it looked as though he might justify being one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. However, Manning has been incredibly average over the past two seasons, and as he enters the final year of his contract, he has the second-highest cap hit for a quarterback in 2015 (just behind Drew Brees).
Manning's accuracy percentage of 72.5 was just the 24th best of 39 quarterbacks, and his numbers against pressure and on deep throws weren't much better. Having Odell Beckham Jr. helped Manning's overall stat line look good in 2014, but that had a lot more to do with Beckham than with Manning.
Manning will be a 35-year-old free agent next offseason, and the Giants will need to decide between potentially overpaying him again and starting over at the quarterback position.
Explaining how they determined what a player "should" be paid, the article said:
"One way to figure out who the most overpaid players in the NFL are is by looking at the Jahnke Value Model -- Click the link for an explanation -- which determines how much money a player should be counting against the cap based on how well he plays"
So, how much is Eli Manning worth? How much is any player worth? Honestly, it's tough to separate the value of one player from another in the ultimate team sport that is football.
ESPN credits much of Manning's success in 2014 to Odell Beckham, but Beckham wasn't OBJ! until he started catching passes from Manning. If he was, there is no way the most dynamic rookie since Randy Moss would have fallen out of the top 10 in the draft.
Believe me when I say that I am a huge Odell Beckham fan, in fact I came this close (picture me holding my thumb and forefinger really close together) to naming our new puppy "Odell". I even like Zach Mettenberger, but Odell, for all his incredible talent, wasn't the best receiver in the league when he was at LSU. What changed?
Are we to believe that Beckham made Eli look better than he is, but discount the injuries that robbed Hakeem Nicks of what made him a special receiver, and robbed the Giants of their number 1 receiver for two years? What about the constant roster turnover at the other skill positions?
Are we also supposed to discount Eli's acclimation and growth in the second half of 2014? Is it possible that he grew in Ben McAdoo's QB friendly offense faster than anyone thought he would? What about the effect of playing in an offense that often defaulted to low percentage passes, and left much of the actual play decisions to post-snap decisions by the receivers?
At the same time, how much is a two-time Super Bowl champion and MVP worth? There are exactly three starting quarterbacks in the NFL who can lay claim to multiple championships, and only two of them were MVPs -- Eli Manning and Tom Brady. In addition to that, Eli Manning is the reigning NFL Iron Man(ning). If availability is your best ability, Eli has that in spades.
Personally, I'm right there with the Giants in hoping that Eli works with them and a deal gets cut -- and soon -- that works for both sides.
But I'm also not about to begrudge a player his money, especially not one who has delivered a pair of championships and seems to be on the upswing in a new offense that is adding weapons.
What do you think Big Blue View? Is Manning the third-most overpaid player in the league?