The big news out of the NFL today was the Oakland Raiders inking a long term deal with their starting quarterback, Derek Carr. The deal is for 5-year, $125 million and makes Carr the second highest paid quarterback behind the Indianapolis Colts starter Andrew Luck. Is Carr the second best QB in the NFL. No. That's not even an arguable fact, he's just not. But he could be in the near future and that is what the Raiders are paying for. Carr has great upside and over time is likely to be a top five quarterback if he can avoid injury or set backs.
That's the thing with the NFL, players aren't paid based on what they did, but rather on what they might do. And the guy who is the top paid one day could find himself the six or eight slots down the list by the next season just because of new contracts and ever increasing salaries.
With this signing, three of the top five highest paid quarterbacks haven't been to a superbowl while the other two have won multiple. ESPN has shared the guaranteed portions of the contracts and average per game salaries for all 32 starting QBs. They are ranked by the guaranteed money. Carr's contract may be for $125 million, but only $70.2 million is guaranteed.
1. Andrew Luck, Colts $87M $24.6M
2. Derek Carr, Raiders $70.2M $25M
T-3. Eli Manning, Giants $65M $21M
T-3. Philip Rivers, Chargers $65M $20.8M
5. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers $64M $21.9M
All of the QBs in this next batch have gotten to a Superbowl. But we are through the top ten and last years Super Bowl winner isn't there.
6. Joe Flacco, Ravens $62M $22.1M
7. Russell Wilson, Seahawks $61.5M $21.9M
8. Cam Newton, Panthers $60M $20.8M
9. Matt Ryan, Falcons $59M $20.8M
10. Aaron Rodgers, Packers $54M $22M
This group is now mostly QBs who play well, but either don't get their teams far into the playoffs… or on the downside of their career. Also notice how much the salary drops between the tenth and eleventh player on the list. That's almost a $10 million dollar difference.
T-11. Alex Smith, Chiefs $45M $17M
T-11. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins $45M $19.3M
13. Drew Brees, Saints $44M $24.4M
14. Matthew Stafford, Lions $41.5M $17.7M
15. Carson Palmer, Cardinals $33.5M $21M
There's Tom Brady at number sixteen with four second and third year players right behind him. Now, don't feel too bad for him though, he's still making close to a million per game.
16. Tom Brady, Patriots $30M $15M
17. Jared Goff, Rams $27.9M $7M
18. Carson Wentz, Eagles $26.7M $6.7M
19. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers $25.4M $6.3M
20. Marcus Mariota, Titans $24.2M $6M
Here is the batch of quarterback still trying to prove themselves to their teams. Kirk Cousins is on his second franchise tag this year.
21. Kirk Cousins, Redskins $23.9M $23.9M
22. Sam Bradford, Vikings $22M $17.5M
23. Blake Bortles, Jaguars $21M $5.2M
24. Mike Glennon, Bears $18.5M $15M
25. Andy Dalton, Bengals $17M $16M
26. Tyrod Taylor, Bills $15.5M $15.3M
And then we have the bottom six with most of the players are just seat fillers waiting for a draft pick to step up. With one notable exception being Dak Prescott who is clearly the starter in Dallas for some time to come but is getting paid less for the season than most of these guys are getting paid per game.
27. Brian Hoyer, 49ers $9.9M $6M
28. Josh McCown, Jets $6M $6M
29. Cody Kessler, Browns $665K $847K
30. Dak Prescott, Cowboys $383K $681K
31. Tom Savage, Texans $301K $630K
32. Trevor Siemian, Broncos $53K $583K
Is this the right approach to doing contracts? Should Tom Brady be the middle of the pack while a kid who has never played in a playoff game is second from the top? Should a guy who took his team to the playoffs as a rookie be making 1/30th of a guy who was a back-up last year?