Picture: Yahoo Sports!
SAN FRANCISCO – Ever since the emergence of the collective of aerial aficionados Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers, there has been this aggressive culture of pursuing the “franchise quarterback.” This ideology has led to some of the most lucrative contracts in NFL history. Though some teams have benefitted from this particular ideology, ala the Patriots with Tom Brady. However, you must ask yourself is paying your starting quarterback all that money really worth it?
Now the type contract I’m referring to would be the daunting 100 million dollar contract or anything substantial enough to where his contract is going to tie a up a large percentage of the team’s salary cap. The true testament of a team stating that they believe their guy is such a rare talent that they would be hard pressed in finding another to do the job with the same level of efficiency. Now what this does is put a severe bind on being able to spend money in other areas on the team. So that means your quarterback better be able to make up for the deficiencies caused by choosing to pay him that amount of money. If you’re team has one of the aforementioned quarterbacks then your team has had success with this method, but doesn’t guarantee a Super Bowl win like we’ve seen with Tom Brady losing to the Giants and Peyton Manning to the Seahawks. If not, then you’re team either doesn’t have one, not necessarily spelling out failure here, or have paid your quarterback that contract that they didn’t deserve. So this means for guys like Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco, and Mike Vick from a few years ago, we see that these contracts are having detrimental effects on their teams and ability to have the funds to improve them.
Now let us take a look Joe Flacco as one of the examples. He’s a solid quarterback that won himself a Super Bowl a few years back and I will not take that away from him. However, you’d have to be pretty blind not to say that nightmarish defense, led by the Captain, Ray Lewis and second in command, Ed Reed, didn’t play the bigger part in the Ravens bringing home the bacon that year along with Anquan Boldin as Flacco’s “get out of jail free card” target through the air. Now after that performance, the ageless wonder that is Ray Lewis, danced his way off into the sunset in addition to many other important Ravens having to be casualties in order to fork over some cash for Joe Flacco’s big deal. As a result, the Ravens had to sign a multitude of veterans and rely on some of the lesser rookies they kept and we saw the Ravens struggle a bit. Now it’s only one year so I won’t jump to conclusions, but I feel like I’m going to see another team make the same decision.
This brings us to the San Francisco 49ers and their ongoing process of working out a new contract with starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick. We’ve seen Kaep clearly out perform his contract that’s paying him little to nothing for his production, but you can’t ignore the fact that he has a colossal offensive line protecting him, a great running back in Frank Gore, and one of the most feared defenses in the NFL. Though I believe Kaepernick has extraordinary athleticism and a ridiculous talent ceiling, he is not worth the deal he’s been asking for. He had 10 games where he didn’t even muster up over 200 yards throwing and even had a game where he didn’t even accumulate over a 100 yards throwing. If you want to be a 100 million dollar quarterback you have to be able to produce week in and week out, not on occasion. If the Niners make the decision to pay him that amount of money they’re going to have consider the players they could possibly lose in the process. Alex Boone, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Martin, Dan Skuta, Aldon Smith (if they “truly” decide to keep him or not), Michael Crabtree and a few others have expiring contracts in the next year or 2. The majority of these players are really good players and are players they could probably keep around if they choose not to pay Kaep the 100 million. Now the one saving grace for Niners is that they always have an abundance of draft picks each year that could be used to combat this issue, but you never know how those picks are going to turn out. You also have the potential problem of players currently with the team wanting more money. So the Niners have to carefully choose whether it will benefit from paying Kaep or will the team have deficiencies too great for Kaep to make up for by paying that 100 million.
~Jordan Davis (@OGBarryBonds)