Eli Manning Shouldn’t Be NFL’s Highest-Paid Player

So, Eli Manning is asking to get a new contract, and he wants it to make him the highest paid player in the entire NFL. Higher than his brother Peyton, higher than Super Bowl winner Tom Brady and even higher than league MVP Aaron Rodgers.

There’s no word yet on whether or not the Giants will give him what he’s asking for, but they’ve apparently told him they hope to get a deal done before this year, when Manning would bring in $17 million. He’s in a contract year, after getting just under $100 million back in 2009.

What would it take to get there? Eli would need at least $22.1 million per year to pass the $22 million that Rodgers is getting.

Not only would the Giants be ill-advised to give it to him, but it’s very unlikely he’ll get there.

For one thing, reports from the Giants’ camp say Eli and the team still have a large gap between them in the negotiations. Gaps are typically not settled by one party giving up and agreeing to what the other party wants. They’re settled by both parties giving a little and meeting in the middle. While that could still be a huge deal, it means Eli would stay below Rodgers.

On top of that, other quarterbacks who have sought out big deals this year have also tried to best Rodgers, and none have. For some, like Cam Newton, that makes sense. Though he’s definitely become a franchise QB in Carolina, he’s won nothing, so he doesn’t have too much to bargain with.

Perhaps most interesting, though, is Russell Wilson. He also got a big deal, and reports were that he wanted more than Rodgers. He can back it up, having gone to two Super Bowls and won one of them, unlike Cam. He still got $21.9M—which feels like it’s almost deliberately under Rodgers.

Eli is one of the strangest quarterbacks in the NFL, as far as judging his worth is concerned. On one hand, the guy throws a boatload of interceptions. He had 14 last year, which, while it’s not terrible, isn’t anywhere near Rodgers’ level. The year before, in 2013, Eli actually led the entire NFL with 27 picks.

NFL: DEC 28 Eagles at Giants

He just doesn’t always pass the eye test. He’s a worthy starter, for sure, but he rarely looks elite when you watch him play. In some games, he looks downright bad, tossing picks in a very Jay Cutler-esque way. He leaves fans scratching their heads.

At the same time, who can forget what he’s done for the Giants? He has two Super Bowl rings for a reason. Both of them came against perhaps the strongest dynasty in the modern era: The New England Patriots. His throw to David Tyree in their first meeting, against an undefeated New England team, was one of the most miraculous and incredible plays in NFL history.

He’s proven he can win, and he can win in big moments. Maybe it doesn’t always look pretty, but winning is what matters. In that way, he’s sort of the opposite of Peyton Manning, who looks great and wins all year long, only to come up small in the postseason.

If you knock Eli, people bring up the Super Bowls. If you praise him, people bring up the interceptions. So where does his value lie?

It’s pretty high. Eli has often struggled when the Giants have struggled, and he does need weapons around him to win, but he can consistently be a solid to good starter in the NFL, with flashes of greatness and a lot of playoff wins. That’s worth a ton.

But he’s not better than Rodgers. Just watch tape on both of them, back and forth, and it’s easy to see. He can’t pick the entire team up the way Rodgers can. He turns the ball over. He makes more mistakes. He’s not as good, even though he has more Super Bowl wins. Eventually, he’ll come down a bit in his asking price and settle for being very, very well paid.

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