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:
|Player||Length||Value||Avg. Salary||Guaranteed||Age When Signed|
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)|
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.
|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|
|Eli Manning (10-14, NYG)||16||85.34||64.6||263.6||1.68||1.21||60.9|
|MEDIAN PRIME PERCENTAGE:||-9.52%|
|AVERAGE PRIME PERCENTAGE:||-12.4%|
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.
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.