Deep Pocket: The NFL QB and the Dollar

Posted: August 3, 2010 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NFL
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

How if value assessed? Is it by past accomplishments, skill projection, positional prestige or location? Across the spectrum of the sporting world all of these factors play a role, and more so than anywhere else, value assessed equals value pocketed. The quarterback slot in the NFL is a place where projection, inheritance and past achievement pay out immediately, before it is even shown whether it is a solid investment. The bottom line is potential pays.

Nowhere is that more evident than in the recent NFL Drafts. The St. Louis Rams came to terms with top overall pick Sam Bradford right as training camp was set to open on Friday evening. As the #1 pick in April’s draft, he was in position to once again raise the heights of the asking price for top pick quarterbacks. After Matthew Stafford’s contract set the standard last year a 6 year, $71 million deal that has $41 million guaranteed coming his way, Bradford had a measuring stick and he quickly reset that mark with his 6 year deal being worth $76 million, but with $50 million of is guaranteed and escalators and bonuses that could make it top out at $86 million. All of this before he has even thrown a pass in the League.

Bradford was the next in line for a guaranteed fortune just by standing in this position, but is it becoming overkill?

There is much pressure that comes with the honor of being the top pick, but none more so than being a quarterback taken in the slot. Due to the ability of the quarterback to change the future of a franchise, he is paid as a superstar with that potential punch would be. The only problem is that it hasn’t happened yet and it sets a dangerous issue in the rising costs of selecting such a player, along with making the appropriate compensation for players that have actually made such impacts on the field.

This leads to the question of comparison. Sam Bradford’s deal brings him an average of around $12.6 million per season. This lands him among the top paid players at any position in the league, which correlates is value as being comparable to the other top players in the game, most definitely at his position. If he brings this home before he has proven his impact on the game, what should players that have won Super Bowls and Most Valuable Player awards land (multiples at that)?

A projected top pick in 2011's draft, Locker would be in line to once again reset the rookie signing record, by position alone default.

If the top three players were eligible to start over with brand new contracts on an open market, they could almost set their own price and value for compensation, and a strong bargaining piece could be what unproven draft picks land based solely on potential compared to their results. With the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement set to expire soon, this could become a reality. Here’s a look at the best the NFL has to offer at quarterback and how their perceived value could be assessed in such an open, Bradford/Stafford-like market.

Tom Brady: The 3-time Super Bowl champion leader of the Patriots dynasty is an interesting mix of result, winning reputation and brand name. When discussing his worth, all of these factors play into say what deserves to be his take home rate. He has a spotty injury history, having had at a season ending knee injury in 2008. However before this injury he started 111 consecutive games and he returned to regain his Pro Bowl form in 17 games in 2009. He threw for 4,398 yards and 28 touchdowns last season and at 33 years old; he is still the middle of his prime and is surrounded by talent to maximize his skills. He is one the most noticeable names and faces of the NFL, and his impact on the franchise and NFL is important in accessing his worth as well. Open Value: 5 years, $125 million ($25 mil per year)

How much are Manning or Brady worth with no salary cap to stop them? A combined 5 MVP's and 4 Super Bowls looks great with no negotiation ceilings.

Peyton Manning: He is both the top player and marketing face in the NFL. His 2009 MVP was his record-setting 4th of his career and he made his tenth Pro Bowl appearance. He is the yearly standard at the most glamorous and high-profile position in sports. His durability is unquestionable, as he has not missed a start in his entire career. So where is the fault in Manning if he is flawless both on and off the field? Well, it would be his shortage of Super Bowls compared to Tom Brady, if you really want to split hairs, and it is the only thing that makes any other player comparable. So his value is tempered by what Brady’s is set at, along with the escalating contract values of top draft pick quarterbacks, who have to be measured by Manning or Brady’s deal as well. At 34, he still performing as well as he ever did, but should his anticipated decline be factored into his value as well? He seems to be bucking the trend, but length of performance level as to be considered. Open Value: 5 years, $140 million ($28 mil per year)

Drew Brees: Since his move to New Orleans, his impact on the Saints has been greater than perhaps any other player in sports in regards to reshaping the image of a team. On the field, the heights of his sustained statistical dominance over the last four years are unmatched by any of his peers. Brees’ leadership and presence in the community is a great benefit to his unquestionable high character. His capstone of winning the Super Bowl and bringing home the Super Bowl MVP takes his value up to another level. Of the top-tier quarterbacks in the league, he is the youngest at 31 years old and has sustained his health at a high level after leaving San Diego with shoulder concerns in 2006. He plays in an offense that is built to capitalize on exactly what he brings to the table now, so there could be some translation issues. However, his impact and effectiveness is unquestionable and he should be able to continue his level of play for many years. Open Value: 7 years, $145 million ($20 mil per year)

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