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.