Quarterback is King
Photo via Giphy

Quarterback is King

Blake Wynveen

Make it rain:

Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen signed a six-year $258 million deal, with $150 million in guaranteed money. That’s no typo.

His deal, second only to Patrick Mahomes’ ten-year $450 million signing, is only $2 million a year shy of the former MVP, and it's likely going to become the asking price for many of the NFL’s young QB’s.

Who’s next in line:

A couple of Allen’s draft mates and a few of the league’s other young guns’ mouths are watering after seeing the extension, particularly one former MVP.

  • Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
  • Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
  • Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

And that doesn’t include second-year standouts Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and Tua Tagovailoa.

A meteoric rise:

The cost of a top QB has risen exponentially in the past half-decade. It was only four years ago Derek Carr became the first QB to make $25 million annually (AAV), besting Andrew Luck’s $24.6 million AAV deal.

It wasn’t long before that that the Ravens were chastised for signing Joe Flacco, fresh off a Super Bowl MVP, to $20 million a year. Now that would look like a bargain compared to the league’s largest deals.

  • Patrick Mahomes: 10-year $450 million ($45m AAV, signed 2020)
  • Josh Allen: 6-year $258 million ($43m AAV, signed 2021)
  • Dak Prescott: 4-year $160 million ($40m AAV, signed 2021)
  • Deshaun Watson: 4-year $156 million ($39m AAV, signed 2020)

The big picture:

From 2017 (the year of Carr’s big signing) to 2020, the salary cap rose $31 million. Two-thirds of that inflation is going to the league's best-paid signal-callers.

With more money to QB’s, teams, and more realistically players at other positions, are feeling a bit of a squeeze. Even worse, the 2021 salary cap is $16 million less than 2020 due to effects from the pandemic - meaning there is quite literally less money to go around.

However, with the cap expected to rise post-pandemic and a new $10 billion a year media deal kicking off in 2023, the cap will likely see continued growth over the next decade.

The only question is, will the QB market continue to rise with it?