In case you haven’t heard, Oakland Raiders star quarterback Derek Carr just became the most affluent person in NFL history. Accepting a five year contract worth $125 million dollars, Carr will make an average of $25 million dollars per year. So what does this mean for the future for NFL quarterbacks? Well, let’s take a look.
I don’t think Carr will be the highest paid player for long, as many young quarterbacks will be expecting a payday with Carr getting a huge contract extension at the young age of 26. Players like Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, and Marcus Mariota could, and in the case of Stafford, Wilson, Cousins, and Newton, should expect a payday that will exceed that of Carr. Winston and Mariota have more to prove as their young careers have just started, but don’t be surprised if Winston and Mariota get big extensions before their rookie contracts expire after the 2019 season if they keep putting up great numbers. This will become a vicious cycle for quarterbacks as the newest wave of quarterbacks have shown signs of greatness, and the rookie class this year has a lot of potential to do great.
Of the top 25 biggest contracts in the NFL right now, 19 belong to an NFL quarterback after Carr’s new contract. Soon enough, quarterbacks alone will have the 25 biggest contracts, as more and more quarterbacks are given these huge contracts. Also, as more young quarterbacks continue to get paid, established veterans will want to see a bigger payday because they have been great for years compared to these young quarterbacks who have only showed signs of greatness for a very short time. Only time will tell when the first player in the NFL will sign a contract worth $200 million.
So how will these contracts affect the quarterback during the game?
We have seen many times, not only in football, but in all of the major sports, where a player signs a huge contract, then fails to meet expectations, i.e, Joe Flacco, Albert Haynesworth, JaMarcus Russell, and Josh Hamilton, just to name a few. However, not all players give into the pressure that is caused by these $100 million plus contracts. Players like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Mike Trout, and James Harden have all met and exceeded expectations when they signed huge contracts. So it will have to depend on how the current quarterbacks, who will get a huge payday, can handle the pressure.
With these contracts coming out left and right for quarterbacks, it shows how much confidence their clubs have in them. It shows to the world that they are the guy that will be able to bring their franchise that coveted Vince Lombardi trophy. It places more importance on the quarterback overall, and soon enough, if a team does not have an elite quarterback, they will not come close to a Super Bowl. Gone are the days of “defense wins championships.”
What do these huge contracts given to quarterbacks mean for the Packers?
Aaron Rodgers signed his current contract in the 2013 offseason. At that time he signed the biggest contract in terms of salary per season. This season, Rodgers will be the seventh highest paid player in the league, barring anymore mega contracts that may be signed before the season starts. Rodgers has shied away from contract talk until recently, when on ESPN radio with Jason Wilde and Mark Tauscher of ESPN Wisconsin, Rodgers acknowledged the idea that it was time for a restructuring of his contract. I don’t doubt that Rodgers will get a new deal before his current contract runs out after the 2019 season. With Rodgers considered to be the best quarterback right now, if a new deal is put in place, there is not a doubt in my mind that he will become the highest paid player in NFL history… again. In order to make that happen, players like Randall Cobb, Clay Matthews, and Jordy Nelson may have to take a pay cut in order to make Rodgers the highest paid player in the league.