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Why the current trend of quarterback salaries cannot continue

One of the biggest weapons a NFL athlete has in his arsenal when negotiating a new contract is comparison, to compare his production with other players who play the position. This is to be expected. After all, players deserve to be compensated based upon the production they generate in comparison to their peers. But what happens when contract values stop going up primarily off production, and instead increase based simply on position value?

The Value Placed Upon Quarterback Is A Problem

Yes, I am aware that quarterback is the most important position in football. And that a good quarterback can cover up multiple deficiencies the rest of the team’s roster may have. A good quarterback can compensate for an injury to a star player, a suspension, a poor running game, or even a horrendous defense. Any team, regardless of how poor the rest of their roster is, has a chance if their quarterback is good enough. For this reason, quarterbacks deserve more guaranteed money due to multiple factors (one of which is difficulty of position). But here is the rub. Only the best quarterbacks deserve earth shattering contracts.

The reason NFL players will never get the same kind of money that NBA players get is quite simple. Every NFL team is simultaneously paying 53 players and a practice squad. The more mouths to feed for a given team, the less food can be distributed due to the salary cap. Now more than ever in league history, the composition of a NFL roster is dictated by the salary of a quarterback. Do you pay your quarterback a bank-breaking contract? At what expense? Sacrificing the integrity of your pass rush? Or what about cutting that slot cornerback you had big plans for?

Again, as previously stated, a great quarterback is worth the cost. But it is my opinion that quarterbacks should be paid 137.5 million dollar contracts based upon their production more so than the fact that they are simply a quarterback.  I don’t mean to pick on Jimmy Garoppolo, after all, you aren’t just given a sweet nickname like “Jimmy Geesus”, you earn it. But when I see a quarterback with only a handful of starts in his NFL career and roughly a dozen touchdown passes, it just doesn’t scream 27.5 million dollars annually in my opinion.

The sad part is, I feel like the San Francisco 49ers knew that as well. But they realized that if they didn’t bring out their piggy banks and pay him that kind of exorbitant contract, some other team would. The problem is the market. The market for quarterback is skyrocketing at an alarming pace. Over the past two years, the phrase “highest paid athlete in NFL history” has become commonplace, completely losing the significance it once carried.

Don’t Believe Me? Lets Look At Some Recent Contracts

Andrew Luck- Quarterback| 87 million dollars guaranteed 

Derek Carr- Quarterback| 70 million dollars guaranteed  (only one above average season to date)

Mathew Stafford-Quarterback| 92 million guaranteed (never won a playoff game)

Jimmy Garoppolo- Quarterback| 27.5 million per year (largest per year salary for an NFL player in league history.. oh, and he’s started less than 10 games)

With the market for quarterback trending upwards, even lesser quarterbacks will have a claim to fortune like never before (wait and see how ridiculous Kirk Cousins’s contract will be)

That’s Real Neat Jay, but What Does that Have to do With Dallas?

Here’s what Jerry Jones had to say about the quarterback market and what it means for third year quarterback Dak Prescott (as reported by ESPN’s Todd Archer):

“He’s going to get his extraordinary contract, but while we can put the team together and take advantage when he is on this contract right now, we’ve got to be real astute to maximize that advantage,” Jones said. “We’re a team that has a high priced offensive line, and it gets a break with Dak right now. It gives us a chance to do some things on defense. This basic dynamic of salary structure won’t be with us but for a year or two. So I guess what I’m trying to say is we need to take advantage of where are contracts are.”

Jerry Jones can be criticized for many things, but it is undeniable that he understands the importance of capitalizing on the Cowboys’ financial situation. Only time will tell if Dallas can pull it off.


Staff writer and podcast host covering the Dallas Cowboys | Spreading my slightly biased sports opinions with anyone wise enough to listen.

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