In the span of a few days Kirk Cousins, Sam Bradford and Joe Flacco have made themselves some serious cash. Kirk Cousins got the franchise tag, which would pay him $19 million the next season, but according to rumors he is looking for a long-term deal worth $20 million anually, Sam Bradford signed a 2-year 36 million dollar extension to stay an Eagle (apparently with $26 million guaranteed) and Joe Flacco extended his contract with Baltimore until 2021, which is worth $66,4 million and includes a $40 million signing bonus. Oh, and Tom Brady also got a 2-year extension which lowers his cap hit.

So these 4 QBs have received new contracts (excluding Cousins), but are all these QBs worth the money?

To start this off, I think we can all agree that Tom Brady is definitely worth every penny (and he should definitely be paid more simply because he is a Top 3 QB, if not the best), so comparing him to the other 3 seems a bit weird.

It becomes even weirder if you compare their salaries for the ’16 season:

According to Tom Brady has a base salary of $9 million for next season, which ranks him 24th for QBs in the NFL. Flacco is ranked  1st,  with $22 million for next season, Cousins 10th and Bradford 14th with $18 million.

Seems foul doesn’t it? Brady earns slightly more than Andrew Luck, who is still on his rookie deal, and even Nick Foles (!) has a higher base salary than Tom Terrific.

How can a Quarterback who threw for the 3rd most yards in 2015, 36TDs and only 7 INTs earn less money than the Quarterback who threw for 4,166 yards, 29TDs and 11 INTS (Cousins) and the dude who threw 19TDs to 17INTs when healthy (Bradford)? (I excluded Flacco here because when he was healthy last season he had Kamar Aiken as his best receiver and the entire Ravens season was lost)

Well, first of all, Brady restructered his contract to lower his cap hit and give the Pats some Cap relief. Not neccessarily what the other 3 QBs are intending.

Cousins came off the best season of his career and led the Redskins to the playoffs (even though against an easy schedule), Joe Flacco has won a Super Bowl with the Ravens and is one of the hottest players in the postseason. And Sam Bradford was supposed to excel in Chip Kelly’s quarterback-friendly scheme, which Bradford responded to by being mediocre and/or injured.

See, I don’t have a problem with Flacco getting paid: He is an above average player (potentially elite in the postseason) and won a Super Bowl. He can help the Ravens get to the Playoffs again this year and he isn’t what upsets me about the QB situation in the NFL.

Cousins, well, I think it’s ridicoulus that he wants $20 million a year simply because he hasn’t earned it yet. He had one really good year last year, but so had Nick Foles in ’13 and last time I checked, he’s awful (Which was a term often associated with Captain Kirk not so long ago as well…) Getting the $19 million from the franchise tag is a nice reward for what he did last season, but if I were Dan Snyder I would wait and see if he can repeat last years success with a tougher schedule ahead before I hand him a longterm deal.

But Cousins isn’t really the problem with QBs. Mr Sam Bradford is:

I just don’t understand how a guy can be mediocre for so long and still get paid so much. Sure, he has huge potential (he wasn’t drafted 1st overall without a reason) but when is he going to show it? And even if he does show glimpses of greatness, what good is it if the hit afterwards sends him to IR for the millionth time? Fact is: Bradford can’t stay healthy and I doubt that it’ll be a problem that can be fixed with time… It’ll probably get even worse with age. And rebuilding a franchise with a signal caller made of glass isn’t the best plan (unless you like yourself some Mark Sanchez, I don’t judge). If Chip Kelly would still be coach of the Eagles , I would have understood the move (because system familiarity and stuff), but with new head coach Doug Peterson in town, I don’t quite understand it. He could have brought Chase Daniel with him (knows his system and could be a bridge starter for a year or two), which would have been a whole lot cheaper than signing Bradford. And with the 14th pick in the 2016 draft, the Eagles would have a realistic shot at drafting one of the top QBs (Paxton Lynch could still be in range there…), so why did they give Bradford those $26 million in guaranteed money?

Probably because of the same reason Kirk gets his $19 million: Because there are only a few good QBs in the league and you need good QB play to get to the Super Bowl (or a monster defense and a QB who doesn’t turn the ball over). That’s why mediocre QBs get so much money, because what are your options if don’t resign Kirk or Bradford? Career backups like Chase Daniel, a young QB via draft (who aren’t nearly close to NFL ready thanks to spread systems and should learn a year before they start), ancient QBs on the steep decline (Matt Hasselbeck, Mike Vick and Peyton Manning), a broken former star whose career is in a downward spiral (RG3, Kaepernick, Matt “Pick me up, baby” Schaub),  or … Tim Tebow (a scary thought, I know).

Neither of these QBs will give your team a Super Bowl, probably not even with the 2015 Broncos Defense, or the 85 Bears D, or 2000 Ravens D.  They all have major flaws in their game which is the reason why they are only backups or borderline starters.

Maybe some of these players just been in the wrong system and actually can excel in the right scheme (Fitzmagic is a good example for that), but reality is: Most of these players aren’t good enough to be an NFL starter. They might do a good job of playing one good year with the right team, but they are neither your long-term answer nor will they get you many wins.

Even if some of these players might be intruiging for various reasons, most of these players simply lack the upside of an NFL starter, which is why Bradford is still valued.
His upside and his pure talent is something the other QBs lack. Same with Captain Kirk. They might never be better than middle-of the pack QB but they still manage to suck slightly less than the rest of the hopefuls.

Will they win games on their own? Most certainly not, that’s a quality only the really good ones possess. And there are only a handful of those in the league. So if you don’t have one of these, well, better hang on to that, or you’ll be left with something even worse.

And that’s why QB salaries are skyrocketing at the moment. It might not seem fair that mediocre QBs are being paid like stars and backups still can get up to $8 million for hopefully never stepping on the field, but “it’s a quarterbacks game”.

We might have 200 players that are better football players than the Sam Bradford’s of the world, but only a select few who are better QBs than him. Sorry, RBs, FBs, 3-4 DEs, cover linebackers etc., if you wanted cash, you should have become a Quarterback. That’s more or less easy money: You don’t need to be good, just slightly average and still make loads of cash, whereas other people work their tails off and still barely make money.

Life can be unfair, boys!