With the ink barely dry on Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott‘s enormous contract, it is now time to think about what other quarterbacks are in line for big paydays.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is expected to sign his four-year, $160M contract in the coming hours. Prescott, Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones will hold a news conference today at 1:30 p.m.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) March 10, 2021
This is actually pretty simple.
All we need to do is to look at the 2018 NFL draft class of quarterbacks to find the next three.
Their names are Mayfield, Allen, and Jackson.
All have fifth-year options on their contracts because they were first-round draft picks.
This means their payoffs (in the high money area of Dak Prescott) could be delayed until the 2023 season if their teams choose to exercise their fifth-year options.
Here’s a breakdown of how the NFL values the fifth-year option for the 2018 first-rounders.
The NFL reminded clubs today they have until May 3 to exercise fifth-year options on their first-round picks from the 2018 draft — and the value of those options is based on performance, with players selected to 2+ Pro Bowls getting the 2021 franchise tag number. From the memo: pic.twitter.com/Se2oFLCRxB
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 10, 2021
2022 5th-Year Options
Josh Allen, $23M
Lamar Jackson, $23M
Baker Mayfield, $18.8M
Sam Darnold, $18.8M
Must be decided upon by May 3rd, become fully guaranteed at exercise.
— Spotrac (@spotrac) March 10, 2021
They are as follows:
1. Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns
Baker Mayfield was the first overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Mayfield had a good rookie season but regressed in 2019.
He bounced back in 2020 and led the Browns to the playoffs and earned his first career playoff win.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 21, 2021
The fanbase in Cleveland either loves Baker or hates him; for some reason, there is no middle ground.
With all of the surrounding pieces and good coaching (led by NFL Coach of the Year Kevin Stefanski), Mayfield should have an even better fourth season.
In 2018, he signed a 4 year $32.6 million contract.
2. Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills
— Built in Buffalo (@BuiltInBuffalo_) March 7, 2021
Josh Allen was the seventh overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.
He has a 28-15 win/loss record in the 43 regular-season games he has started.
Allen also led his team to the playoffs in both 2019 and 2020.
He is .500 in the playoffs for his career (2-2).
Josh Allen signed a 4 year $21.1 million contract with the Bills.
Because he qualified for the Pro Bowl one time, his fifth-year option is valued higher than Mayfield’s.
He would be paid $23 million for the fifth year should the Bill choose to exercise it by May 3.
If Allen continues to play well, his payoff will be huge when he renegotiates with the Bills for a long-term deal beyond his rookie contract.
3. Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 11, 2021
Lamar Jackson was the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Jackson has been great since beginning his career.
He was named the 2019 NFL MVP.
The biggest hurdle he had not overcome was winning a playoff game.
He accomplished that in 2020 and now is 1-3 in his career in the playoffs.
Jackson signed a 4 year $9.4 million contract with the Ravens in 2018.
All three of these young quarterbacks are rising stars in the NFL.
If their performance continues to get better through their fourth and fifth years, we can anticipate more NFL contracts of similar or larger dollar values than Dak Prescott’s new deal.
The missing piece from the 2018 draft class is Sam Darnold; it is unclear who his long-term team will be.
He also has the potential to earn big money given the right opportunity and system.