Nathan Jahnke of Pro Football Focus recently released two separate lists of the most overpaid and underpaid players in the NFL using his own process called the JVM (Jahnke Valuation Model). Here's an explanation of how it works (In$ider):
It takes into account how well the athlete played compared to other players at the same position, and how much money teams devote to that position. It is based completely on their 2013 performance, so it doesn't take into account previous years, and is not meant to gauge how much they should earn in the future. In general, it is just a tool for measuring how much money a team was over- or underpaying for a player for the season.
At the top of the most overpaid players list was none than New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. You'd probably be hard pressed to find an Eagles fan that would disagree. Manning 2013 cap hit was $20.8 million. Using JVM, he was only worth about $5.4 million. That's a value differential of a whopping $15.4 million. In other words, Manning was nearly overpaid four times than what he was actually worth. Jahnke goes into more detail:
It seemed as if Manning was improving year after year and had worked his way into the second tier of quarterbacks. He seemed to hit a peak in his Super Bowl season of 2011, and then took a minor step back in 2012. This was followed by 2013, which was a major step in the wrong direction.
Manning's accuracy percentage of 57.5 was second-worst among starting quarterbacks, and his inaccuracy led to 27 interceptions (more INTs than any QB has had in a season since 2005). He threw the ball better than average on intermediate and -- at times -- deep throws, which still made him worth a decent amount of money, but not anywhere close to his cap hit of $20.8 million.
He has two more years on his contract, where he is owed roughly the same amount in annual value as he was in 2013. He is 33, the age where quarterbacks typically start to decline, so even if he has a slight rebound, he would continue to be the most overpaid player in the NFL.
That last part is critical. It would require a huge bounce back from the veteran QB to justify the money he's being paid. Perhaps Manning will rebound with the Giants' revamped offense being installed under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, but I remain a little skeptical until I see it first. It seems more likely that Manning's career trajectory is just pointing downward at this point.
As a fun reminder, Manning's 27 interceptions in 2013 were the same amount of passing touchdowns that Eagles QB Nick Foles scored (with only 2 interceptions). Another major difference was that Foles only cost $635,880 due to being in the second year of his rookie contract as a former third round pick.
In closing, I present you with this glorious GIF made by Jimmy Kempski.