The 2022 NFL offseason will be remembered for elevating the quarterback market to greater heights.
It looks like $40 million a year is the base rate for franchise quarterbacks after Matthew Stafford agreed to a four-year, $160 million extension with the Los Angeles Rams.
Then there’s the trendsetting five-year, fully-guaranteed contract Deshaun Watson got from the Cleveland Browns worth $230 million.
But Aaron Rodgers established the ceiling (for now) after signing a three-year, $150 million deal with the Green Bay Packers.
It’s easy to make a strong argument for each player on why they deserve that money.
However, seeing how the market trends prompted NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah to point out an important observation.
When you see the cost of QB's & WR's on the open market, it makes drafting in 1st rd & gaining 5 yrs of control very enticing. If the grades are close, teams are going to lean in that direction.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 13, 2022
Jeremiah tweeted, “When you see the cost of QB’s & WR’s on the open market, it makes drafting in 1st rd & gaining 5 yrs of control very enticing. If the grades are close, teams are going to lean in that direction.”
Drafted quarterbacks sign rookie deals that could be up to four years.
Those seasons are critical for proving that they are worthy of the hefty financial investment.
However, the team will pick up the cap-friendly fifth-year option if the play-caller performs well.
That extra year gives them more cap flexibility to build around the quarterback by adding complementary players.
Therefore, the team becomes more competitive without paying a heavy price.
Case In Point: Cincinnati Bengals
Despite a breakout 2021 season that ended in a Super Bowl LVI appearance, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow will only receive a $3.9 million base salary for 2022.
The Bengals won’t have to think much about their cap in 2023 because Burrow accounts for a $5.5 million base salary.
Therefore, the team has two years to remain competitive and possibly return to the Super Bowl.