Now come the elite QBs that are getting a ton of money. These guys are getting ridiculous amounts of money, but they’ve deserved it over the years. The first guy is Peyton Manning. Some people questioned whether he was still worth a lot after having neck surgery, but he definitely proved that last year. He will make $25 million in cash with a $17.5 million cap hit, but honestly, he’s probably worth that. He has made the playoffs in 12 of his 14 years as a starter, and he won the Super Bowl in 2006. He’s passed for nearly 60,000 yards and has over a 2:1 TD to INT ratio. He’s an amazing leader and is considered one of the smartest QBs in the league. This is the example of a guy that deserves $20+ million a year. He has more than proven that he’s worth it, and he’s a sure-fire Hall of Famer once he retires. He most definitely deserves his contract, and it’d be a flat out lie to say otherwise.
Aaron Rodgers is not as good as Manning yet, but he’s a lot younger and has already performed excellently for the Packers. In five years as a starter, he’s made the playoffs four times. He’s averaged over 4,000 passing yards in each of those season and has a mindboggling 3.7:1 TD to INT ratio over his career. He’s won two thirds of the games that he’s started in the regular season and won the Super Bowl in 2010. He has attained the elite status so quickly that it’ll be amazing to see what he can do in the future. Now, the elite status means you should probably be getting in the $20 million range, which is why I’m hesitant to say that Rodgers deserves his contract. His cap hit is only $12 million this season, but he’s actually making $40 million, the highest by far in the league. That is a staggering number (likely due to a signing bonus) and is just too high. Rodgers is arguably the best QB in the league right now, but that doesn’t mean he deserves $40 million in one season. Nonetheless, that’s what he’s making this year, and he probably deserves it more than anyone else in the league.
Among the elite quarterbacks is Drew Brees, who also has a Super Bowl ring (in 2009). He has twice as many TDs as INTs and has almost 46,000 passing yards throughout his career. He’s got the ring, he’s got the stats, and he’s got the leadership. He’s also got the playoff experience too, making the playoffs in five different seasons. He actually has the record for the most guaranteed money in his contract at $60 million. He just recently signed a huge extension, valued at 5 years, $100 million. 2013 is actually the year where he’ll make the least amount of money (only $10 million), but his cap hit is $17.4 million, the third highest in the league for QBs. He actually made $40 million in 2012 which is just insane, but that was due to a $37 million signing bonus. Regardless of how much money he makes, he’s such a huge part of the Saints offense that they would be terrible without him. That’s a big indication of how good a quarterback is…how valuable he is to his team.
If we’re talking about elite quarterbacks, we have to include Tom Brady. He’s won more Super Bowls (3) than any other active QB in the league and has made the playoffs in ten of eleven seasons as the Patriots’ starter. Another crazy stat is that he is 14-7 in the playoffs…any quarterback that has that good of a record in the postseason deserves the title of elite. He’s always had an excellent TD to INT ratio and has passed for nearly 45,000 yards. He may be making $31 million in actual cash this year, but his cap hit is only $13.8 million. Plus, he signed a three year extension recently that will save the team cap space due to a pay cut that Brady is taking. That’s the perfect example of a team player who is more focused on winning than the money. Even though his salary is very high this year, it is only going to decrease from here on out because he cares more about the team than himself.
This next one could go either way. Ben Roethlisberger is a very underrated quarterback and could easily be considered elite, but people tend to leave him out because he doesn’t pass for crazy amounts of yards every season and doesn’t have the name Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. This is a guy who’s made the playoffs 6 out of 9 seasons that he’s been in the league, and he has won 2 Super Bowls. What else could you ask for in a QB? He has a really solid TD to INT ratio (close to 2:1) and often does very well once he gets into the playoffs. The one drawback is that he gets injured more than most players in the league, but when he’s healthy, he’s been one of the most reliable QBs in the league over the years. He is a guy that a team should spend $13.595 million in cap space for because he has been known to perform well over the years.
Part 9 will be released tomorrow.