It has become common practice for fans to rant about how certain players are overpaid, but there's a smarter way of attacking that gripe: the Jahnke Valuation Model (JVM), which measures how much money a player should have made based on the quality of his play.
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.
In this file, I'll use the model to see which players were overpaid the most based on how well they played in 2013.
Obviously anyone who missed most or all of the season due to injury didn't live up to expectations, so this list is limited to players who received at least 500 snaps last season. Plenty of players who were the most overvalued in 2013 -- like Jared Allen, Julius Peppers and Chris Johnson -- had much smaller contracts, so they also aren't included.
Unless these players show big improvement this fall, they will be among the most overvalued players of 2014 as well. Here are the top 10 most overpaid players for the 2013 season:
1. Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
2013 cap hit: $20.8 million
2013 JVM: $5.4M
Value differential: $15.4M
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.
2. James Laurinaitis, LB, St. Louis Rams
2013 cap hit: $12.4M
2013 JVM: $1.3M
Value differential: $11.1M