Back in 2017, I listed off quarterbacks that were primed for new contracts entering that respective season. During the course of the year, five quarterbacks on my segment received contracts worth a grand total of $251.5 million. Heading into 2018, here are seven quarterbacks I believe deserve new contracts:
Russell Wilson (2018 Cap Hit: $23.8 million)
The Seattle Seahawks have fallen apart as of late, but one player who has earned every penny has been Russell Wilson. Inking a four-year, $87.6 million deal back in 2015, Wilson has found himself working with less weapons as time goes on. With a player option after the upcoming season, could we see Wilson move on to greater things?
Considering the scarcity of elite quarterbacks in the NFL, expect for the front office of Seattle to overpay Wilson significantly. His $23.8 million salary in 2018 is the eleventh-highest among quarterbacks, and no one can forget the fact that Wilson has brought the Seahawks to the postseason in five of his last six seasons.
Tom Brady (2018 Cap Hit: $22 million)
Despite turning 41 in August, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is by far the most valuable player in the NFL. Coming off a MVP campaign in 2017, the expectation that most have is that Brady will retire as a member of the Patriots.
On the other hand, what if the fallout continues behind the scenes in New England? There is rumored tension between a few select members of the Patriots organization, with Brady included in the mix. Owner Robert Kraft elected to pass on maintaining Jimmy Garropolo for a long-term deal last year, but will he continue to pass on young talent in order to keep Brady happy?
I would expect for Tom Brady to remain in New England on a short-term deal. After his past merits with the Patriots, it would be a hard pill to swallow if Brady left based on poor chemistry off the field. As teams continue to invest in younger options, I don’t expect for Brady to find a better suitor than New England.
Aaron Rodgers (2018 Cap Hit: $20.6 million)
Aaron Rodgers, a six-time Pro-Bowler and two-time MVP, will now enter the 2018 campaign as the tenth-highest paid quarterback. Although he spent almost all of 2017 on the injured reserve, I believe this was a blessing in disguise. With Rodgers on the field, Green Bay’s record was 4-3. Without him, the team was 3-6.
Based on rumors over the last several weeks, the Packers and Rodgers are currently at a standstill when it comes to contract negotiations. According to select sources, Rodgers is desiring multiple player options in his next contract, which essentially hands him leverage over the Packers franchise.
After the failed experiment with Brett Hundley in 2017, I’m not sure the front office can feel any more comfortable with DeShone Kizer on the active roster, who led the Cleveland Browns to a record of 0-16 last year. While Rodgers has been part of the Packers organization over the last thirteen seasons, if no progress continues to be made, this may turn into quite the offseason story in the distant future.
Marcus Mariota (2018 Cap Hit: $7.7 million)
Based on the cap hits for the 2018-19 season, Marcus Mariota is scheduled to make less money than 25 other quarterbacks. Viewed as a young, but unproven asset to the Tennessee Titans, I’m not quite sure how to evaluate a future extension for Mariota. After the 2017-18 campaign was by far the most underwhelming in his three-year career, the upcoming season may have to be a “make or break” statement when it comes to finances.
The Titans took on Mariota’s $20.9 million team option for the upcoming year, and I would probably value the 24-year old around $17.5 million, which is just under Atlanta’s Matt Ryan ($17.7 MM) and above Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton ($16.3 MM).
The skill set is intact for Mariota, but one playoff victory in three years does not solidify him as an elite quarterback in the NFL. The Titans are eager to sign Marcus Mariota to a long-term contract, per rumors, but this upcoming season will be a huge factor in how much he is set to earn.
Carson Wentz (2018 Cap Hit: $7.3 million)
After leading the Philadelphia Eagles, for the most part, to their Super Bowl run last season, is there any doubt that Carson Wentz needs to get paid? His $7.3 million cap hit for 2018 is lower than 27 other quarterbacks, 16 of which have yet to even appear in a Super Bowl yet, let alone win one.
I will admit, the fear surrounding Wentz is understandable. His ACL injury from 2017 is worrisome, and the fact that his rookie numbers show inconsistency within his play makes others wonder whether or not Wentz is the real deal.
Wentz still has two years under his rookie contract, and I don’t expect for an extension to occur until those two years have played out. I simply cannot see Wentz outside of Philadelphia, as his sophomore season showed attributes of a franchise cornerstone.
Teddy Bridgewater (2018 Cap Hit: $6 million)
To be clear, the cap hit of New York Jets’ Teddy Bridgewater is not stuck at $6 million for the 2018-19 season. In fact, Bridgewater could max out at as much as $15 million next season, based on a variety of incentives that includes his health. On the downside, the likelihood that Bridgewater hits that $15 million mark is slim, considering the Jets currently contain quarterbacks such as Sam Darnold and Josh McCown on the active roster as well.
As a starter, Bridgewater was an efficient quarterback. While he wasn’t outstanding, by any means, his starting record of 17-11 isn’t a coincidence. I would love to see what Teddy Bridgewater can do under center for a team that is willing to give him playing time within the regular season. With the worries of his previous injuries, I unfortunately believe Bridgewater receiving that opportunity is a stretch at this given moment.
Dak Prescott (2018 Cap Hit: $725,848)
Based on his rookie season alone, the Dallas Cowboys are confident that Dak Prescott is their quarterback of the future. In essence, you don’t bench a quarterback such as Tony Romo in exchange for a fourth-round rookie from Mississippi State unless all your confidence is in that select player.
While Ezekiel Elliot and the Cowboys’ offensive line do help shape Prescott’s success, Prescott also plays a large role in their success as well. In fact, I’m willing to go as far to say that Dak Prescott is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL when it comes to the play-action, as is also among the elite when it comes to passing outside the pocket. Currently undergoing his rookie contract, Prescott will likely be worth up to roughly $19.25 million annually, which is just above Washington’s Alex Smith ($18.4 MM) and under Aaron Rodgers ($20.6 MM).
Am I calling Prescott just as solidified as Rodgers or Smith? Of course not; but a 24-year old, mobile quarterback with one of the most accurate arms in the NFL is valuable, by all means. I believe the Cowboys are fixated on the idea of Prescott remaining a part of the Dallas franchise, and he will earn a new contract before his current one expires.
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic