NFL Nation reporters vote for highest-paid player: It’s not Eli Manning

By Rachel Wold

New York Giants two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning has said he wants to be the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, an honor that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers currently owns at an annual salary of approximately $22 million.

ESPN’s 32 NFL Nation reporters overwhelmingly agree that’s how it should be, since 19 of the 32 maintained that Rodgers should be the hold that title.

Only one (Dan Graziano of the New York Giants) said Eli Manning should be the highest-paid player. Graziano defended his choice by asserting the market sets the price instead of a player signing a contract similar to his supposed worth:

“There are better QBs, but more goes into it than that. The market dictates what these guys are worth, and Manning is next in line for a whopper QB deal that reflects his status as a two-time Super Bowl champion who never misses a game. He won’t be the highest paid for long, but he’s right to think he belongs there now.”

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady received five votes, while Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck tallied four —including one from Denver Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold.

Sitting at the bottom of the quarterback heap with Eli with one vote each was Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks) and Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos). Arizona Cardinals NFL Nation reporter Josh Weinfuss said Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt should be the highest-paid player.

The NFL Nation reporter vote reinforces the notion that Eli doesn’t deserve a deal that pays him more than Rodgers currently commands.

Eli’s current contract takes him through the 2015 season. While he wants to surpass Rodgers in average annual income, a deal similar to that of San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers seems more realistic. Rivers’ new agreement pays him $20.8 million annually, and that’s not exactly chump change.