Eli Manning isn’t even a top-20 QB right now

The Giants' quarterback reportedly wants to be made the NFL's highest-paid player. Here's why he doesn't measure up to his competition.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

(AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

Eli Manning isn’t even a top-20 QB right now

One headline making the rounds this week is the report that Eli Manning wants to be made the highest-paid player in the NFL, and while wanting to be the highest-paid player isn’t necessarily the same thing as being the best player, it has certainly opened up the question of just how good Manning is.

While Manning has had an impressive career, highlighted by two Super Bowl victories, he has also proven to be erratic in his performance.

According to our rating system, he isn’t even a top-20 NFL QB right now.

Now, that assessment might be overly harsh, in part because of the fact that Manning is still being punished for his rough 2013 campaign during which he ranked No. 31 in the league for his accuracy under pressure. It also can’t take into account the impact a healthy tandem of Odell Beckham Jr. (our No. 1-rated wide receiver entering 2015) and Victor Cruz will have on his play.

And we know his top-level performance ability is very high. In Manning’s 2011 Super Bowl season, the former No. 1 overall pick was dynamite, especially under pressure. He was pressured on 39.1 percent of his dropbacks (most in the NFL), but was sacked just 11.4 percent of the time (best in the NFL), and his accuracy percentage of 69.1 was second-best to Drew Brees. In the playoffs, he posted the best postseason passing grade of any quarterback in the PFF era.

But fast forward to 2015 and Manning doesn’t resemble his 2011 self in the slightest. He comes into the season as our No. 27-ranked QB according to our PFF rating system, behind the likes of Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick and Jay Cutler. While Manning shows the ability to be a top-10 QB at times, he doesn’t perform that way in a consistent manner.

Could he show improvement this season and move up toward top-20 or top-15 range? Absolutely. He’s shown that potential before. But his recent performances have been a cause for concern. While the Giants’ front office will inevitably have to pay him like a top-10 QB and hope he returns to his former self, Manning’s play the past two years doesn’t even compare to a top-20 QB.

| Analyst

John is an analyst for Pro Football Focus and former safety for the University of Kansas Jayhawks (2004–2006).

  • asdnf

    pff has some nice statistical grades on many positions, QB is still not one where its really made any headway, its still to difficult to assign grades based on blame/accuracy/talent level around QB, its really nonsensical how Ryan Tannehill is one of the top rated QBs on PFF year after year, thats nonsensical.

    • Sam Doohan

      That’s not really fair. PFF tracks certain stats and weighs them in specific ways. Their system is better in many regards than traditional stats but of course it leads to some anomalies. Tannehill is a great example. He’s accurate and is in an offense that lets him make lots of quick fast passes (which keeps him out of pressure and doesn’t make him make hard throws) and as a result he rises in the standings. He’s basically living in an offense designed to build PFF stats because it’s designed to create consistency from a middle-caliber QB. Of course that’s a weakness in the system and Eli is certainly more talented than Tannehill but PFF can’t grade for some abstract notion of talent. Certain things on the film equal certain points, that’s all. Their model isn’t perfect by any stretch, it just gives you a different way to look at the game.

      • gllmiaspr

        The short passes that RT made last year helped him improve his NFL QB rating but actually hurt his PFF grade. In 2013 RT passing grade was +19.8 or 6th in the NFL with a QB rating of 81.7. In 2014 when Lazor got away from long passes RT comp % improved and NFL QB rating improved to 92.9. But his PFF passing grade dropped in half to +8.7 or tenth in the league.
        The reason is simple. PFF assumes as a rule that passes under 10 yards should be completed and it is very hard to get a pos grade out of a short pass.
        On the other hand passes over 10 and over 20 yards may get good grades even though they may not be completed.

        • Sam Doohan

          I didn’t know that, but the point stays the same – Tannehill is a mid-caliber guy in an offense that is built to make the most of his talents and as a result he does better in certain statistical ways than he probably would for another team. By contrast Eli is a guy in a ‘full’ offense that isn’t especially tailored for him (and coming off a bad season too) so he hasn’t done as well even though he’s massively more talented than Tannehill in an abstract sense. Eli has way more upside than Tannehill but Tannehill has a much higher floor, at least at the moment, and PFF favors consistent play over streaky up and down players.

      • gregg rice

        Eli die hards on here lol……dude is very accomplished, a first ballot mvp.to judge the system is understandable. But go to F.O. or media fire, or ANY OTHER advanced analytical database website, Eli ain’t getting much love, because he REALLY HASNT BEEN THAT GOOD over a three season stretch.

  • GeDDeN

    Oh how he wishes he had his 2011 offensive linemen back….

  • Jacob Gaertner

    This is why not as many people take your ratings very seriously.

    Production-wise, Eli was a top 12 QB last season. Why should we expect that to change this year when he has an improved group of weapons and is more comfortable in his 2nd year in the McAdoo system?

    • Gregg Rice

      Eli had a stretch of games he looked good in, but in the end, it’s another downtrending season for him, better than 2012 and 2013, but after two below average seasons, and a inconsistent year like this, to say he’s a top 12 anymore is a bit of a stretch. If u don’t like these stats, try football outsiders, they are not too kind to Eli either. His last three seasons are closer to Cutler than who’s at that borderline top half qb in the league, then they are to that tier of very good qb’s in the league. I’m not trying to be a butthead or anything, and I watched every giants game last year, and I’m not a fan of an nfc east team either. To rate him in that top twelve catagory is bent too much on his past achievements, which are great and give you bragging rights in your own way. But too say he’s even on the level of kap, tannenhill, Dalton, or Newton over the last couple seasons is not a valid assessment. Even more unbelievably wrong is to think he is on that Ryan/Rivers/Stafford level of performance over the last 4 seasons.I hope he does rebound, Big Ben did last year, I havent lost complete faith in him, but he’s teetering on that top sixteen spot for sure.

  • Mein Furrier

    Wassup PSR?

  • Mein Furrier

    Come to PSR and talk sports with the experts.


    • gregg rice

      Is it a good forum? Or Is it a free for all? where were gonna read about or watch giants fans try to justify how Eli manning is compareable to Aaron Rodgers, when over the last three seasons he isn’t even comparable to Stafford over the last three seasons…if it’s real football talk, I’m in….

      • Mein Furrier

        You’ll love it at PSR. The only Giants fan that’s an uber homer has Asperger’s… no joke! C’mon and sign up!

  • Mein Furrier




  • Tim Edell

    As a diehard Bear fan the thought of Eli ranking below Cutler is hard to fathom!

  • bff426

    This is why I stopped subscribing to the site. It’s total nonsense. In fact, the article doesn’t even track with the headline. Eli Manning under the Ben McAdoo system is a totally different quarterback then under the old Kevin Gilbride one. Especially in 2013, which apparently this article is including in their rating. Why two years? It makes no sense to include that year, under a totally different system. But it’s all about clicks. That’s why this site has degenerated. It used to be about data, now it’s about getting clicks. Often times, scouts will talk about whether somebody passes the eyeball test. This article doesn’t. Go back into your mother’s basement and try again.

    • John Murray

      Ya but they won 2 bowls under gilbride system. 27 picks was 6 more than Geno Smith. Now he’s in a get it out fast system. Wonder why?

      • bff426

        When you have an experienced, cohesive offensive line like they had in 2007 and 2011, you can have seven step drops. When you have receivers on the same page, you don’t throw it one place, and the receivers go another. Gilbride’s offense was a high risk, high reward type offense. In 2013, all five offensive line starters missed at least some games, three missed all of them. Only Victor Cruz was a reliable receiver. The seven step drop, down the field passing game couldn’t be done with the personnel on hand. But Gilbride persisted. The result was disaster. He was fired. The article is a joke to take into consideration Eli’s statistics under that system. I’ll repeat – this article is nothing but click bait. The site proclaims itself to be data driven, by professionals for professionals. It is anything but based on this article.

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        • Ryan

          Ok so dismiss his play because he had a horrible offensive coordinator. The same one that he had for the previous 9 years. Does that mean we have to dismiss his playoff runs or his SB MVPs too? That was the same coordinator. I’ve heard every excuse for Eli’s horrible play from horrible lineplay to horrible play calling and a horrible system. If the Giants pass blocking isn’t in the top 10 people start crying about how horrible the line was and that’s why Eli plays like crap so often. Eli isn’t that good how dare this site not realize how horrible his coordinator was that made Eli throw all those interceptions.

    • NYGSteve4life

      what a crybaby… any self respecting Giants fan is relieved Eli was even mentioned near the top 30 after his play these past several years.

      • Ryan

        Exactly….all these “Eli is such a victim” fans are making us look bad. Stop all this damn crying and making excuses for our top 25 QB. I think he probably needs some motivation so we can see him play to his full potential week in and week out. Everybody has bad games here and there but damn Eli, get yourself together….for a full 16 weeks….and don’t forget about playoffs.

    • Roque Coral

      “Now, that assessment might be overly harsh, in part because of the fact that Manning is still being punished for his rough 2013 campaign during which he ranked No. 31 in the league for his accuracy under pressure. It also can’t take into account the impact a healthy tandem of Odell Beckham Jr. (our No. 1-rated wide receiver entering 2015) and Victor Cruz will have on his play.”

      They addressed that the ranking may be harsh due to this.

  • Grisha

    ha ha ha ha I think you need to change your rating system. You want to argue about top 6 or 12? Sure go ahead. But top 20? It just makes you look dumb.

    • Gregg Rice

      Grisha, now that’s an honest fan assessment. I wouldn’t rate him top 12 over the last few seasons, but he’s gotta be in the top 20. I do feel he’s teetering on that top half of the league line though, just being honest.

      • Grisha

        Eli gets killed in a large part due to his interceptions, but if you actually watch his playing, the vast majority of these interceptions are in situations where the Giants are basically out of the game, and Eli is trying to pull a rabbit out of his hat. Other QBs just give up or pad their stats, Eli will always risk the interception if it is the only way to win. And this has led to a few really amazing victories (his first SB most obviously). It has lost him very few games over the years, excepting the disastrous season two years ago with offensive line. And while I am not going to compare Eli to Rodgers, most everyone agrees that Rodgers is the better QB, I will say that in the one game against each other that really mattered, Eli wiped the floor with him.

  • TheIronFist

    I’m sure someone takes their ratings seriously.

    • gregg rice

      Lol like nfl scouts, nfl gm’s. Nfl sportscasters, players agents, the players. Lets be real.

  • John Schwerdt

    He’s led a top 10 offense for 2/3 of his career. The receivers come and go and he makes stars out of them. No wide receiver has ever done anything in the NFL after leaving the Giants. If you think he’s anything less than a second tier quarterback when half the league can’t even run an offense, and 3/4 of the league would trade their QB for him in a heartbeat, you’re out of your mind. He couldn’t even function in 2013 because the offensive line was so bad (and still is, which is why they switched to short passing in the scheme change), and he had a solitary bad game against the Niners in 2014. There’s no WAY he’s a bottom 5 option.

    • Gregg Rice

      Once again, you can easily tell the a mad fan. I’m not a fan of ANY NFC EAST TEAM, and I like Eli, love his commercials, he’s the best at em! Bit to say he’s a top 5 is beyond remedial, it’s absurd. This isn’t between 2005-2010, in which I would have rated Eli a top 5, even into the 2012 season, a top 10. But he is clearly trending down, top five is beyond judgement, it’s fanantism to the extreme. To even say his performance is even compareable to the last few seasons of that top 12 very good tier of matty ice/Rivers/Stafford/ is unreal. Sorry bud, hope Eli rebounds. And don’t read offseason articles that are pro Giants. Lol read a couple validating his wanton for a rod money, not worth it.

      • Jim_MD

        Admittedly, Eli has had a rough couple of years recently, but it makes me laugh when you say he’s ranked below a group of QBs that don’t even have one ring, much less two.

  • terry welsh

    I had him at around 15 to 18, but I haven’t watched him every week.

  • Jake Bumgarner

    Eli apologists are crying but had no issues when PFF was vastly over rating him based on a few clutch throws even though the rest of his performances were his usual garbage.

    Don’t get me wrong PFFs metrics are not objective imo (at least for QBs) but all the Eli apologists weren’t whining a couple years ago when PFF thought he was elite.

    Funny thing is Eli is playing as poorly as he almost always has but PFF only started recognizing that when the Giants stopped winning.

  • DrewC

    So you are saying Eli is only better than 5 other starting QBs or is he behind back ups too? Either way something is wrong with your ratings.

  • mbajay

    Frigging idiot show me the 20 quarterbacks that had more than 4,410 yards, the 20 quarterbacks with more than 30 touchdowns and finally show me the 20 quarterbacks with less than 14 interceptions. Also the 20 active quarterbacks with 2 superbowls.
    Stupidity at its finest, this writer should be put on the never ending ice dunking clown seat. Jerk off

  • T.J.

    Eli Manning is not a great quarterback, he’s not even a good quarterback. That will be proven when the Giants get a good /great quarterback. His two superbowl wins came from a defense that was an embarrassment of riches, and an offense that had weapons that could adjust to his terrible abilities. He’s a whiny baby, definitely not worth the highest paid status. Infact, his refusal to play for the chargers when drafted is an insult to guys who worked as hard or harder than him and never got a chance. Just cuz daddy and big brother were good, don’t guarantee he would be. And it has been proven in more seasons than not that he’s mediocre at best! It really doesn’t matter though, he’s not on my team, and as long as he stays far away from anymore superbowls, as a player, I will be happy! BTW, Peyton is 3,000 times the quarterback eli is, unfortunately he has less superbowl wins. Oh look another good point about eli sucking,… Peyton, 1 superbowl win, many consistent high number years. Eli, 2 superbowls and a career of crappy up and down or just down seasons and stats. Let him go off into the sunset and expire (or retire, whatever), then you can find a good quarterback for the Giants!

  • k35rtm

    This is the worst article on earth. PERIOD.

  • k35rtm

    To me Eli Manning is a top 5 Quarterback better than Rivers, Roethlisberger, and