By Ross Kelly
After months and months of negotiations, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks finally agreed to terms on a new contract. The new deal runs from 2016-2019 and is worth $87.6 million ($60 million guaranteed). To kill the suspense and answer the question, “Is Russell Wilson overpaid”, the answer is obviously, no. Why is it obvious? Because the deal starts AFTER the 2015 season which means Wilson is still playing for peanuts, relatively speaking, in the 2015 season. He’s still on his rookie contract for 2015 ($1.54 million) and when you combine that with the new deal he just signed, his value aligns with the money he’s owed.
But that last statement isn’t the case with some other quarterbacks and here is my list of the five most overpaid quarterbacks in the NFL:
5. Andy Dalton (6yr – $96m, 2015-2020) – Dalton is one of the ten highest paid QBs in the league. Is he a top 10 quarterback? I think most, including Cincy fans, would say no. The Bengals are paying for mediocrity and despite having one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, they don’t realize that they need an upgrade at the game’s most important position. The numbers don’t lie: in his playoff career he’s 0-4 with one touchdown and six interceptions. By the way, Dalton’s contract will pay him more than Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers, AND Ben Roethlisberger.
4. Colin Kaepernick (6yr – $114m, 2015-2020) – Kaepernick and Dalton signed similar contracts and while each player has flaws, Kaepernick’s deal is worth $18 million more so he’s placed higher on this list. If only you could combine the two quarterbacks and have Dalton start throughout the regular season and Kaepernick take over in the playoffs. Kap is no longer on his rookie contract so he’s not the great value he was a year ago and his play has not progressed as the 49ers and Ron Jaworski would have hoped. He’s a uniquely talented player and will be under a new offensive scheme this season, to go along with new mechanics. I suspect the changes will have a positive impact on Kap and out of everyone on this list, he has the best chance of not being on this list in 2016.
3. Drew Brees (5yr – $100m, 2012-2016) – This is surely to be the most controversial selection as Brees is clearly the best player on this list. But, as I pointed out is naming Calvin Johnson the most overpaid WR, you can be great, and even elite, and still be overpaid. The Saints had a mini fire-sale this offseason by getting rid of Jimmy Graham and many other talented players. If they don’t redo Brees’ 2016 salary ($19.75 million), then they will have to do another fire-sale after the 2015 season. As it stands Brees will make $11 million more over the next two years than what Tom Brady will make over the next three years (pre-suspension).
2. Sam Bradford (6yr – $78m, 2010-2015) – It’s not Bradford’s fault that he fell victim to the NFL’s draconian rookie scale that ended with the last CBA. It’s still mind-boggling that NFL rookies were getting that much guaranteed money compared to the veterans in the league. Nonetheless, this is the last year of Bradford’s rookie deal and he will make nearly $13 million, or about $5 million more than Jameis Winston, this year’s #1 pick, will make in the last year of his rookie deal in 2018. On the field, Bradford’s grade thus far has to be an “incomplete” as he hasn’t taken a snap in almost two calendar years. It will be interesting to see what kind of deal Bradford attracts after the season, provided he can make it through it healthy.
1. Jay Cutler (7yr – $126.7m, 2014-2020) – No doubt about this placement. After Cutler’s disastrous 2014 season, the Bears are still on the hook for $104.2 million over the next six seasons. And unlike the NBA, there’s no big jump in salaries/salary cap coming in the NFL. All this for a guy who has won all of one playoff game in his career and hasn’t started all 16 games in six years. Cutler isn’t the absolute worst QB in the NFL; he just has the worst contract, the worst disposition, and the best hair. Barring some miraculous turnaround, this is a bad deal for the Bears in the short term and the long term. The best-case scenario for Chicago is that Cutler pulls a Kyle Orton and decides to retire at the age of 32.