Overpaid NFL Quarterbacks Edition

andy dalton

Andy Dalton, the red-headed starting quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals, just got a significant pay raise from Bengals management and owner at 6 years, $96 million extension. However, CBS Sports said the following:

“In typical Bengals fashion, the only guaranteed money in Dalton’s contract consists of a $12 million signing bonus and a $5 million roster bonus payable three days after signing. Instead of making $1,086,027 in the final year of a rookie deal signed in 2011, Dalton gets $18,086,027, a $17 million raise, this year. Dalton also has a $4 million roster bonus payable on the third day of the 2015 league year, which is intended to serve as a substitute for additional contact guarantees.

Dalton’s contract has been characterized as a two-year, $25.28 million deal because the Bengals can release him after the 2015 season without any adverse salary cap consequences. By releasing Dalton at this time, the Bengals will have given him a one-year extension for $24.2 million, which is right around $5.7 more than the 2015 non-exclusive quarterback franchise tag should be with similar cap growth as this year (approximately $18.5 million). Dalton is scheduled to make slightly under $35 million in new money through 2016, the first two new years of the deal (three year cash flow of almost $36 million), which is close to $6 million less than receiving two years of franchise tags.”

So they’re not really on the hook after the 2015 season, which is smart negotiating. According to Pro Football Reference, his regular season record is 30-18 and his postseason record is a paltry 0-3. His QBR, a metrics guru stat explained by ESPN.com here, was 55.8 in 2013, beating division foes Joe Flacco (Ravens) and Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers). However, overall, he ranks 15th in the NFL. He’s ahead of Ben Roethlisberger, turnover-prone Matthew Stafford, the aging Carson Palmer and struggling Christian Ponder. Here’s the QBR chart for the regular season:

qbr ratings 2013

Is he a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning? No, and he doesn’t get paid more than them. But, this is a big pay raise for a guy who hasn’t done much come postseason. The postseason QBR isn’t forgiving for Dalton, either. He ranks DEAD LAST among playoff quarterbacks with an awful 14.2 rating. As the regular season rankings showed, good quarterbacks hang around 49.00.

postseason 2013 qbr

This starts the discussion again: Who should be paid a lot of money and who shouldn’t? ESPN’s Jim Trotter has a great take here on how teams are scared of paying an unknown draft pick instead of sticking with what they know they have.

Why was Dalton so terrible? Because he faced a lot of blitzes and pressure in the playoffs and struggled against pressure overall. Grantland details the problems Dalton has while facing pressure.

tom brady

Tom Brady is highly paid for a reason. The guy has won 3 Super Bowls, is a great passer, competes at the highest level and hasn’t seen a 0.500 or losing record since he took over from Drew Bledsoe THIRTEEN YEARS AGO. Brady’s overall record in the regular season is 148-43. His QBR during the regular season was 11th among NFL QB’s and playoffs it was 6th. But, he’s great in the postseason as his record showed. What’s his salary? He has a base salary for $2 million this year, but got a lot of guaranteed money in the form of signing bonuses. For an in-depth look, check this out.

Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers are similar elite quarterbacks. Manning is a genius at the line of scrimmage, winning one Super Bowl and competes at a very high level. Aaron Rodgers has also won a Super Bowl, and this year, his QBR finished 6th among NFL quarterbacks in the 2013 regular season (ahead of Tom Brady who was 11th) and 7th in the playoffs out of 12 QB’s. He’s earned his 5 year, $110 million contract extension in 2013, especially after this game-winning TD to clinch the NFC North title and a playoff spot last season:

Drew Brees’ 5 year, $100 million contract extension in 2010 was well-deserved, with one Super Bowl to his name. In the past three years, he has thrown over 5,000 passing yards per season. His “low” the past three years was only 39 passing touchdowns in 2013.  Woah.

Who is overrated? Other than Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens, Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons, with Jay Cutler, Eli Manning, and Matthew Stafford rounding out my list.

joe flacco

Flacco,, after seeing his targets Anquan Boldin leave to the 49ers in free agency after winning a Super Bowl in 2012 and tight end Dennis Pitta go down with a ACL tear, was not a franchise quarterback in 2013. His stats? Unimpressive. His QBR was 25th among regular season QB’s, meaning he was below Sam Bradford and above Ryan Tannehill; not great company. He has never thrown for more than 3,900 yards in a single season and last season, threw an awful 22 interceptions. His eye-popping contract for $120.6 million wasn’t a good investment by the Ravens front office, and Bill Barnwell of Grantland put him as the QB of the All-Bad Contracts Team.

mckayla maroney face

McKayla Maroney is not impressed, Joe Flacco.

Matt Ryan is the same. He had an awful offensive line last season and lost key target Roddy White and Julio Jones to injuries here and there, but he can’t win in the postseason when he gets there. He’s an awful 1-4 in the playoffs, but has a great regular season record (and that goes for his stats as well) of 60-34. His contract is 5 years, $103.75 million. I don’t think he’s “earned” that maximum franchise deal, but the Falcons front office begs to differ.

Jay Cutler. Seemingly disinterested and dispassionate, which some say is his personality, he’s been blasted by Denver and Chicago sports media. Yet, he has had some great statistical seasons and has a 7 year contract extension deal that would pay him $126 million. But, his win-loss record is 56-48 with the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears in the regular season and a 1-1 in the playoffs back in 2010 with the Bears. Not cutting it.

eli manning

Eli Manning is not even close to Peyton, his older brother, as far as talent or discipline. Yeah, he’s won two Super Bowls, but I’ve always believed his defensive line won him those rings. With the likes of Michael Strahan, Matthias Kiwanuka, Osi Umenyora and Jason Pierre-Paul, you don’t have to be an elite quarterback. Eli throws interceptions like they’re hot potatoes or free t-shirts. He’s thrown 171 picks over his ten-year career, with his career high of TWENTY-SEVEN last year (and threw 20 picks in 2007, 25 in 2010). And his win-loss record is a respectable 85-66 overall, Eli is 8-3 in the postseason and those wins came in two years when they won the Super Bowl. His contract? He signed a 6 year extension for $97 million in 2011. Overpaid.

Disclaimer: I’m a Redskins fan so I’m biased, but I feel this is an objective opinion based on his performances lately.

Matthew Stafford is too much of a gunner and got a 3 year extension worth $53 million in 2012. He threw 19 interceptions last year and never threw less than 16 in his NFL career when playing a full season (he threw 1 pick in an injury-shortened 2010 year). Yeah, he’s thrown for a lot of yards, but he has Calvin “Megatron” Johnson to thank for that. His record is 24-37 overall and is 0-1 in his lone playoff appearance. Nope, not worth that franchise QB money. If you have additional questions, check out a Grantland column on Matthew Stafford.

What’d you think about my list? Any other QB that’s overrated?


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About Spencer Irvine

Fun loving, D.C. area sports fan, which means I'm frustrated and still can't get a grip on what a win truly means (or a championship for that matter).

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