Eli Manning is now the highest-paid player in the NFL. Earlier this week, Manning signed a deal that will pay him $97.5 million over six years, ensuring that he will remain a Giant though 2015, while making more per season than more accomplished quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
And that is the big criticism about this contract—how can Eli Manning earn more than Brady or his brother? Brady has won three Super Bowls, while Peyton may set every major passing record before he is finished. It’s a valid point; the elder Manning and Brady are far more accomplished quarterbacks than Eli and they deserve to be paid more than he does, but it also doesn’t make this a bad deal for the Giants. That’s because Eli is the perfect QB for New York. He has the temperament to handle the press and he is evolving into one of the better QB’s in the league.
Last season he made his first Pro Bowl and completed over 60% of his passes. He cut his interceptions in half and increased his passer rating by 13 points. At 28, it is reasonable to expect Manning to keep improving this season and for several seasons in the future. This year will be a challenge for him with a very inexperienced group of wide receivers, but Eli has shown the ability to thrive when the pressure is on. With this new contract, the bullseye is clearly on him. Expect him to deliver.