Contract Forecast: Eli Manning

Contract Forecast: Eli Manning
Untitled Document

Updated Contract Forecast: Eli Manning

With Newton, Wilson, Roethlisberger, Tannehill, and now Rivers all under contract for the foreseeable future, the last QB standing appears to be Eli Manning, whose $97.5M contract with the Giants is set to expire after the 2015 season. We've been dreading this forecast, knowing how the math will work against him - while also understanding that Eli is likely to become the highest paid player in football by the time this deal is said and done. It's a valuation nightmare, but we'll do it the justice it deserves. In terms of our analysis, we're going to use Manning's combined average statistics from 2010-2014, attempting to counter for the miserable 2013 season he and the Giants put forth. Here's what the math says:

Comparable Quarterbacks
To generate a prediction the we've located 4 quarterbacks with similar numbers, who signed a contract around Manning's current age (34). Here's a look at the new money for each extension signed by each. To determine a more likely starting point for our numbers, we'll perform a linear regression of the contracts listed below.
Player Length Value Avg. Salary Guaranteed Age When Signed
Tony Romo  6 $108,000,000 $18,000,000 $55,000,000 32
Ben Roethlisberger  4 $87,400,000 $21,850,000 $31,000,000 33
Drew Brees  5 $100,000,000 $20,000,000 $40,000,000 33
Philip Rivers  4 $83,250,000 $20,812,500 $65,000,000 33
Averages 4.75 $94,662,500 $20,165,625 $47,750,000 33

At 34 years old, Manning is pretty much on par with our variable Quarterbacks. We'll adjust the contracts of each as if it were signed at the age of 34, providing a better scope for our base prediction.

Related:  View the list of Top Average Paid Quarterbacks in the NFL

Once a linear regression is performed on these new numbers we're given the following terms to begin with:

Length Value Avg. Salary (slope)
4 $79,357,000 $19,839,250

Statistical Analysis

To derive the most complete set of production comparisons, we'll use Games/Season, Passer Rating/Season, QBR/Season, Passing Yards/Game, Passing TDs/G, INT/ G, and Completion %/Season. To assess how well the player was performing prior to signing their respective contract, we'll show the averages of these statistics two years prior to their signing date. The two-year analysis will give us a "Prime Percentage", showing how well that player was performing when the contract was signed in relation to his overall career.

Player G/YR Rating QBR Yds/G TD/G INT/G COMP%
Tony Romo (11-12, DAL) 16 96.49 62.95 284 1.84 .91 65.9
Ben Roethlisberger (13-14, PIT) 16 97.65 64.6 287.9 1.88 .72 65.7
Drew Brees (10-11, NO) 16 100.74 73.85 315.5 2.47 1.13 69.7
Philip Rivers (13-14, SD) 16 99.63 72.7 273.8 1.97 .91 67.95
AVERAGES 16 98.63 68.53 290.32 2.04 .92 67.3
Eli Manning (10-14, NYG) 16 85.34 64.6 263.6 1.68 1.21 60.9
% Change 0.00% -9.2% -17.65% -31.52% -9.52% -5.73% -13.47%
Even using his last FIVE years of statistics, Eli is well under par across the board against our variable quarterbacks. It's possible the Giants simply want to be sure that the bounce-back season Manning had in 2014 is here to stay before designated a large chunk of their cap space to him going forward. We'll factor these Prime Percentage into our base numbers.

Guaranteed Money
Manning has started every game for the Giants since the 2005 season - an absolutely incredible run. He's shown durability, and has put together consistent, winning seasons throughout his career (with the exception of 2013). At 34 years old, age is a bit of a red flag, but not enough to keep the contract from coming.
Player Value True Guarantees % Guaranteed
Tony Romo  $108,000,000 $55,000,000 50.93%
Ben Roethlisberger $87,400,000 $31,000,000 35.47%
Drew Brees  $100,000,000 $40,000,000 40.00%
Philip Rivers $83,250,000 $65,000,000 78%
Adjusted Regression 65%

Length of the Contract
Most of the elite quarterbacks are signing contracts that take them through the 38 years of age, meaning a 4-5 year extension for Manning makes sense. We'll assume 4 based on his current age and recent struggles.

Value of the Contract
Our initial base terms brought forth an average annual salary just over $19.8M per year, a figure that would make him the 9th highest average paid quarterback in football. When factoring in our prime percentages, this figure drops significantly, as Manning simply did not stack up statistically against our variables.

Quick Thoughts
Mathematically speaking, Eli Manning is worth just a bit more than his current contract's $16.25M AAV. While a minuscule pay raise would certainly make the Giants happy, it's not likely that Manning, nor agent Tom Condon, will stand for it. Eli's lack of production over the 2012-13 seasons was in large part to the franchise spinning it's wheels to stay relevant, with both sides of the ball suffering to produce on a consistent level. The Giants began to right the ship in 2014, and are projecting to be contenders again in 2015, making the timing of Manning's deal important - while making evaluating him on recent production difficult.

To put numbers in place, franchise tagging Manning over the next two seasons would result in a minimum of $50M guaranteed. Because the Giants allows his current contract to nearly expire, this short of leverage must come into play, as Eli can refuse to sign a deal he's not happy with and force the Giants to scramble next offseason.

The end result here is likely a combination of our two points here: 1) Eli is likely going to incur the most 3-year cash flow of any player in the game (recently taken over by Philip Rivers' $68M through 2017). However, it's also possible that the deal is heavily front loaded, meaning his bottom line AAV may not overtake Aaron Rodgers' $22M when it's all said and done. Cash for Eli now, security for the Giants later.

Spotrac's Calculated Prediction: 4 years, $70,650,000
Average annual salary $17,662,500, estimated $46,000,000 guaranteed

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