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Old 11-16-2013, 03:24 PM  
O.city O.city is offline
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Albert Breer article on paying qbs.

DJ, myself a few others had a conversation about this the other day, now Breer talking about it. He must read CP. Anyway, discuss


Albert Breer.

It isn't far-fetched to think Jay Cutler's departure from last Sunday's game against Detroit could lead to a larger-scale exodus from Chicago for the mercurial quarterback.


As it stands, he's had eight starts for new coach Marc Trestman, and a high ankle sprain has landed him in a walking boot. The coach said that Cutler is still the Bears' quarterback. For how much longer is the question.

Chicago isn't alone here.

The salary cap has stayed relatively flat the past three years, and while the middle class has been squeezed and the league has gotten younger across the board, the price tag on quarterbacks has continued to rise. That has turned up the pressure on teams to get it right at the game's most important position.

The decision of whether or not to double down on a passer, which has always been a high-stakes game, is now marked by the economic reality of one player eating up an average of $20 million per year while the cap hovers just above $120 million.

"Any player you sign, no matter how much it's for, you wanna be right. But for that much money, you really have to be," an AFC general manager said. "Say you run a 3-4. Well, now, that's harder, because you need more blue-chippers -- a lockdown corner, pass-rushers. A lot of 3-4s are complicated, so you might need veterans, and that costs more. That's where it starts to hurt, where you want to pay all those vets. And then on the flip side, you pay the quarterback all that money, it's not smart to not have weapons."

Three teams have major calls to make this offseason about their quarterbacks:

Chicago Bears
The player: Cutler
The situation: The contract extension he signed after being traded to Chicago expires in February.
The landscape: GM Phil Emery has been largely mum, but this is clearly a franchise-altering situation. Cutler turns 31 in April, and his potential has outweighed his production as a Bear. Going with a quarterback of his age and experience would signal that Chicago is approaching team-building one way. Starting over with a younger player, on the other hand, could guide larger-scale changes with the other older players on the roster. The franchise tag could be an option.

Cincinnati Bengals
The player: Andy Dalton
The situation: The Bengals have a handful of young players to pay. Dalton is eligible to be extended for the first time this offseason, with 2014 being a contract year.
The landscape: Early in the season, there was internal doubt about Dalton being the long-term answer. That dissipated in October when Dalton showed improvement, but he's struggled since. "At the end of the day, the issue is consistency," a Bengals source said. Not insignificant: Getting Dalton done early would help Cincinnati manage its financials, with a handful of young players due to get deals soon.

San Francisco 49ers
The player: Colin Kaepernick
The situation: Like Dalton, Kaepernick was a second-round draft pick in 2011, meaning he's a) eligible for a new deal this offseason and b) will be going into a contract year.
The landscape: There was no surer sign of the Niners' commitment to Kaepernick than their decision to trade away Alex Smith in the offseason, a move that came after the precocious quarterback's epic playoff run. Since then, Kaepernick has struggled to evolve away from an option-heavy offense. The Niners' plan remains to negotiate with him this offseason, but his play has affected his market value to some degree, and that could make .

Forthcoming decisions on these quarterbacks will help shape what's next for each team. The Bears, sans Cutler, could be in for retooling. The Bengals, if Dalton is allowed to go into his contract year, could take a flier on another QB in the draft.

Of course, if those teams go the other way and lock up their quarterbacks, budgetary considerations will need to be made.

The Indianapolis Colts of Peyton Manning's prime are a good example. Part of the benefit of hiring Tony Dungy and playing the relatively simple Tampa 2 defense (Manning's first mega-contract came after Dungy's second year) was making it easier organizationally to find defensive players who could play right away. Indianapolis poured draft picks and money into Manning's offensive weaponry while constructing a defense built to play with leads around smaller, quicker and mostly cheaper players. The Colts wound up capturing a championship and posting at least 12 wins in seven straight seasons.

Because Manning ate up a large chunk of the cap, Indianapolis could only afford to pay a smaller core of players at the top of the market, so drafting and developing around that core was a point of emphasis.

"The first part of it is that you can't win in this league without a franchise quarterback that the team completely believes in," one NFC GM said. "The second part (of paying him) is you have to have a staff that's willing to play with younger players, and develop young players, and commit to being good teams. When you have that quarterback, the days of signing the vets to come in because they know what they're doing, unless they take less, don't exist anymore."

Baltimore got younger in key spots this offseason, as did Atlanta, while Green Bay has always been draft-centric, so the difference isn't as stark there. In all three locales, big paydays for franchise quarterbacks coincided with the departures of veterans, and likely will force tough decisions down the road, as well.

Pulling the trigger on such a deal in the first place isn't easy. In so many ways, the entire building hitches itself to that player as a result. Taking into account the fallout in other areas of the roster, figuring out where to draw the line can often come down to how confident management is that the quarterback is capable of both winning and carrying the team.

"I just think, with a guy you're around every day, at practice, in the meeting rooms, in the offseason, you know," the AFC GM said. "You know if that has a chance, even if he hasn't made it there yet. So it comes down to your own evaluation. And then it becomes, 'As opposed to what?' If he's not there, you can always draft a guy, but that's easier said than done."

So on one hand, you sell out for the player. On the other, you risk winding up with a guy who makes you the equivalent of a perennial 50-win team in the NBA: just good enough to make you believe you're close while perhaps preventing you from making some of the more seismic changes needed to reach the ultimate goal.

"The way I see it, the guy's gotta be able to bring people along with him, carry guys and make them better," the NFC GM said. "He's gonna be the guy who's playing with that rookie receiver or the undrafted tight end. He knows that, making that money, he can't bitch about not having players. And you look for him to have strong, strong leadership skills."

Soon enough, we'll find out if the Bears, Bengals and Niners feel like their teams have that intangible quality. And as they know, it's one decision they have to get right.
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Old 11-17-2013, 02:55 PM   #61
bandwagonjumper bandwagonjumper is offline
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Just look at the New England Patriots. Before there luckily hit on Tom Brady the Patriots were a pretty bad to mediocre franchise. We'll see how there perform when Tom Brady retires. A great quarterback makes a mediocre team good and a bad team mediocre.
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Old 11-17-2013, 02:58 PM   #62
Rausch Rausch is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bandwagonjumper View Post
Just look at the New England Patriots. Before there luckily hit on Tom Brady the Patriots were a pretty bad to mediocre franchise. We'll see how there perform when Tom Brady retires. A great quarterback makes a mediocre team good and a bad team mediocre.
They did pretty good with Bledsoe...
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Originally Posted by rico View Post
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Old 11-17-2013, 05:21 PM   #63
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Bears will have a decision with cutler and mccown
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