By: Daniel Oyefusi
News broke early this morning that the Cincinnati Bengals and QB Andy Dalton had agreed to a 6 year extension worth roughly $96 million. When I heard the report, I thought “Wow, thats a lot for someone with no playoff wins,” but I quickly remembered the world that we are living in today.
The Quarterback position is the most important in not only football, but in all of sports. It is imperative that teams have, at the minimum, above average quarterback play, to stay somewhat competitive. With the new rookie wage scale, rookies and quarterbacks especially, are not initially making as much money as past rookies and are, as a result, looking for big pay days when their opportunity appears. The need for franchise quarterbacks results in many talented, but underachieving, quarterbacks receiving exorbitant contracts before they have made much of their careers. For all the complaints about Joe Flacco’s $120 million, it capped off a historic Super Bowl run and MVP Honors. But if you look at many of the other highest paid QBs, you see a lot more to be desired.
Matt Ryan signed a $103 million extension with the Falcons in the offseason. With all the natural talent and targets that he has had at his disposal, he has 1 playoff win in 5 years and is under some pressure to get Atlanta back to the playoffs. Colin Kaepernick took over as the 49ers starting QB, leading them to the Super Bowl, but ultimately losing to the Baltimore Ravens. The next year, he led the 49ers to the NFC Championship game but came just short of another Super Bowl trip. In the offseason, he received a 7 year, $114 million extension with the hopes that he will lead San Fran back to the promised land. Let it be known that I am a believer in Colin Kaepernick. However, it seems a bit premature to give him a $100+ million extension. Lastly, although once again failing to lead the Bears to the playoffs, Jay Culter received a 7 year, $126 million extension. Albeit with a suspect Offensive Line at times, it shocks me that with targets Culter has, including Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, and Matt Forte, Culter has only mustered one playoff victory in his tenure with the Bears.
All the case studies just mentioned currently make more money than Tom Brady. Let that sink in: They all make MORE money than Tom Brady. Although his last Super Bowl was almost a decade ago, Tom Brady is a perennial Pro Bowler and MVP Candidate, constantly in the playoffs, and has taken lesser talented teams deep into the playoffs. But like I said before, NFL executives face a tough dilemma in today’s QB-driven league: Overpay your current QB and hope he delivers or let him walk in free agency and suffer for another 3-5 years before another franchise QB comes your way in the draft. I’m pretty sure most NFL GMs would go with the first choice.