2013: Do NFL QBs really deserve their contracts? (part one)

This is a part of a series that will analyze NFL contracts at the quarterback position.

It seems that every time another quarterback gets a new contract or some sort of extension, the idea is to beat out the last person’s deal and have something included in the contract that screams “first time ever” or “biggest in NFL history.” These deals will only continue too as long as the salary cap goes up. But regarding the salary cap, it seems like some teams are getting away with minimal cap hits for their all-star quarterbacks. How are they doing this? I’ll analyze every team’s highest paid quarterback and measure their cap hit against the actual amount of money they’ll be making. But first let’s discuss the basics.

The first thing that players want is guaranteed money. No matter what happens to them, they are going to get this money in some form because it’s guaranteed in their contract. While this certainly makes the player happy, it can also make him content with his situation and not try to get better. This happens all the time where a player gets a new contract or extension and then plays worse than he was before, essentially not living up to the money he was given. Take a look at Ryan Fitzpatrick, the former Bills starting QB.

He took over the starting role at quarterback when Trent Edwards went down in 2009. He went 5-4 that year in a season where the Bills only won 6 games. Despite this, Edwards was still named the starter in 2010. But after the Bills lost the first two games, Fitzpatrick took over as starter again and threw for 3,000 yards, 24 TDs, and 14 INTs, which are pretty respectable numbers. He continued as the starter in 2011 and signed a huge contract during the middle of the season, worth $59 million over 6 years, including a $10 million signing bonus. Despite throwing for a career high in passing yards that season, he led the league in INTs with 24. After the 2012 season, he was released by the team completely, meaning his big contract was a failure. $24 million of that contract was guaranteed. He didn’t even have to play and he would make that money. Does that mean he definitely became content and tried less? No, not at all. But it makes you wonder…

Part 2 will be released tomorrow.

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