Brady has pocketed $196.2 million over 17 seasons (and only wound up playing in 15 of them), or 11.5 on average. Manning pocketed $248.7 million over 18 seasons (only wound up playing in 17 of them), or 13.8 million average. Eli Manning has $205.8 million through 13 seasons, or $15.8 million average. Did Peyton and Brady give up money, or is it just the market for franchise quarterbacks has gone up over time and the younger QB's are benefiting from it now? And what is the point of "his Day In The Sun with a record-setting contract, even if it included tons of bogus deferred/non-guaranteed money " if the player is never going to see it? Cash in pocket is what counts, not illusions. All cash earnings count against the salary cap, it's a question of when does it count based on how it's paid out (base salary, signing bonuses, roster bonuses, etc). Each have certain conditions of how and when they count. But in the end, all cash in pocket counts against the cap.