The New York Giants bringing back Eli Manning for the final year of his contract, only to bench the quarterback, remains a headscratcher around the NFL. But the team's decision to pick up Manning’s final year of his contract ensures that he is the highest-paid player in NFL history.
In the process, pushing older brother Peyton Manning to second in lifetime earnings from NFL contracts.
Manning, across his 14 NFL seasons, will have made $252,280,004 from his contracts, all given by the Giants. His brother ranks second on the all-time list with $248,732,000 in earnings over 16 years with the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos.
There is no denying that Eli Manning doesn't have the statistical numbers of his older sibling, who undoubtedly will be in the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible in 2021. Not only does Peyton Manning have more passing yards, more touchdowns and more career wins than his little brother, but he is also largely considered one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game.
So to think that Eli Manning, despite having been under contract two fewer years than Peyton Manning, has made more than his big brother is simply staggering.
And not just his brother, but Eli Manning has made more over the span of his career than Drew Brees ($244,710,422) and Tom Brady ($235,166,804), who might be the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL.
In cases like Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback has taken less money to help his team stay under the salary cap and retain its core. If all holds to form, Brady, as well as Brees, will also surpass the Manning brothers next year in terms of total NFL contract earnings.
However, it is still a shock to see that Manning, now a backup quarterback, has made more over the life of his contracts than Brady, who has six Super Bowl rings.
And to think that if the Giants didn’t pick up the final year of Manning’s contract this year, then he might never have surpassed big brother in the earnings department.
Coincidentally, and perhaps no surprise, quarterbacks are all the top lifetime wage earners in the history of the NFL. Of the top 10 earners in league history, the first nine are quarterbacks with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald tenth on the list ($174,546,387).