There’s also a small list of starters in this group who are getting underpaid for their performance. And when I say small list, I mean it’s just one person: Colin Kaepernick. The genius thing about his contract is that he will probably never be overpaid in his career. He just signed a new contract this offseason for $114 million. My first reaction was that that was absolutely ridiculous. But then I looked at the details and noticed that just under $13 million of that was completely guaranteed no matter what, which was a very small percentage of the total amount. As I mentioned much earlier, his contract is one that is full of incentives and requirements for him to earn the money. So if he starts making $15+ million a year, it probably means that he’s a Pro Bowl QB taking his team to the playoffs every year. This seems to be the new trend, and it was a great move by the 49ers.
I’ve now discussed 29 of the 32 teams, so who is left? For some reason, there are three guys that are backups that are actually getting paid more than the starter going into this season. Johnny Manziel is the first of those, who was drafted this past offseason by the Browns. He battled with Bryan Hoyer in the preseason for the starting job, but Hoyer won it for now. Manziel will have a cap hit of $1.50 million this year. The next guy is Mark Sanchez, the backup for the Eagles. Nick Foles is the obvious starter going into this season, but he’s making a very small amount of money because he’s still on his rookie deal. Sanchez was brought in on a one year contract for a fair amount of money and has looked very good in the preseason. He’s one of the best backups in the league now in my opinion. The final guy is Tarvaris Jackson of the Seahawks. In case you were wondering why Russell Wilson wasn’t mentioned at all in this whole piece, that’s why. Jackson is making just $1.25 million this year and is still the highest paid QB on the roster, higher than Wilson. Wilson will soon be getting a whole lot more than that, but for now, Jackson is the highest paid QB in Seattle for the second year in a row.
Going into last year, the rate that QB contracts were increasing was insane. But there has been some improvement with the lessening of actual guaranteed money and the bigger stress on incentives such as with Dalton and Kaepernick. Guys like Newton, Luck, and Wilson are all in line for massive deals in the near future, but I expect them to be more like the aforementioned guys. It makes the most sense, even with the salary cap rising the way it is. But that hasn’t stopped teams from overpaying guys anyway. Not every QB can be elite, but not every QB should be receiving a ridiculous amount of money. This offseason was a step in the right direction, but the situation will have to continue to improve if teams want to have money for other guys. My guess is they’ll figure it out. Time will tell.