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Old 11-16-2013, 02:24 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 11-16-2013, 02:58 PM   #2
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Obama's economy has now finally hit the NFL

And btw Jay definitely ain't worth the $$. He is a loser all the way around. But hey he has a rifle arm
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Old 11-16-2013, 03:45 PM   #3
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well written article. not a big fan of breer, but he makes glaringly good points -- especially the one about Dungy's team building approach.

but there is a problem with NFLQB bitchfest 2013 -- there will be only one peyton manning and the odds of getting a good NFL style QB are dwindling as college teaches far less football than it did when manning etc were coming up the ranks.
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Old 11-16-2013, 03:47 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ace Gunner View Post
well written article. not a big fan of breer, but he makes glaringly good points -- especially the one about Dungy's team building approach.

but there is a problem with NFLQB bitchfest 2013 -- there will be only one peyton manning and the odds of getting a good NFL style QB are dwindling as college teaches far less football than it did when manning etc were coming up the ranks.
The nfl is moving more towards a style that fits said qbs anyway, hence why it can be a mistake of overpaying for one who's carried by the team around him, not vice versa.
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Old 11-16-2013, 03:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by O.city View Post
The nfl is moving more towards a style that fits said qbs anyway, hence why it can be a mistake of overpaying for one who's carried by the team around him, not vice versa.
if you're saying the NFL is becoming a dumbed down version of itself, I agree.
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Old 11-16-2013, 04:05 PM   #6
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So we did the right thing getting small money smith? So cutler to the chuefs? Jk guys a douche.
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Old 11-16-2013, 04:08 PM   #7
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The comments about the 3-4 being more expensive makes me wonder if that's why Dallas switched to a 4-3 this offseason. Big contract to Romo and looming cap issues. I personally just believe 3-4 is, in general, a superior scheme.
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Old 11-16-2013, 04:18 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ace Gunner View Post
if you're saying the NFL is becoming a dumbed down version of itself, I agree.
I'd say a more simplistic version of itself, due to various factors.
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Old 11-16-2013, 04:22 PM   #9
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The Alternative Route
Posted on November 16, 2013 by Joe Bussell
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
- Robert Frost, 1920

“The Road Not Taken” may be something NFL general managers may want to investigate further.

The clear plan of nearly every team in the NFL is to find a “franchise” quarterback and then build around him. Without a franchise quarterback, most teams aren’t considered Super Bowl contenders. Even now, the Chiefs, who are sitting at 9-0, are largely considered frauds because they lack a superstar at the most important position in the sport.

Analyzing the Chiefs’ approach, as well as reading through Albert Breer’s notebook this week, makes me wonder: What if the Chiefs are smarter than everyone else? What if their approach is years ahead of every other team’s approach and we just don’t realize it yet? When thinking about team building in terms of allocation of resources, the Chiefs might be onto something. I know, building a team without a stud quarterback seems far-fetched, but hear me out…

The Money

Over the last few years, the salary cap has stayed fairly level while the prices for quarterbacks have continued to skyrocket. In 2011-2013, the NFL salary cap has been $120.375M, $120.6M, and $123M, respectively. Meanwhile, the quarterback salary range has jumped from about $14 million to an average of $20 million for the top tier guys. The quarterback prices are outpacing the salary cap increases over the last 3 years. Not to mention spending more $20M on a single guy is dedicating more 16 percent of a team’s salary cap to 1/53rd of the roster.

The allocation of that amount of cap is detrimental to the rest of the team. The Saints just paid Drew Brees and now have to find room to re-sign superstar tight end Jimmy Graham to a contract that will average in the neighborhood of $10 million a year. Nearly 25 percent of the Saints’ salary cap over the next 5 years will be dedicated to 2 players. That doesn’t leave a lot of money to pay for the rest of the 51 men on the roster.

If the numbers for quarterbacks continue to increase faster than the salary cap, it will eventually make the investment outweigh the return. Forget the, “you can’t put a price on a franchise quarterback” chatter. You can, and teams will if the current trend continues. Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady aren’t the same quarterbacks without decent offensive lines or weapons to throw to. Even Drew Brees couldn’t lift the Saints to a .500 record when his defense was giving up historic amounts of yardage in 2012.

Quarterbacks are important but at some point general managers and owners will get squeezed so much by rising salaries that the return on the investment isn’t worth it. They’re already robbing Peter to pay Paul by pushing out the middle class of the NFL. The league is becoming younger not because teams don’t want veterans, but because teams can’t pay big time players on big time contracts without re-allocating the money from some other place. This means teams are paying a lot of minimum salaries and veterans are unwillingly being weeded out because they simply cost too much, even at veteran minimums.

General managers will continue to push the brink of the salary cap by figuring out what works best for the team. Some will even begin to question, “Is spending 20-25% of my salary cap worth it? Is there an alternative – another road perhaps?”

The Availability of Franchise Quarterbacks

Franchise quarterbacks are the most sought after commodity in the NFL, and the rarity at which they are available makes them uber expensive. It’s simple supply and demand. Demand is high, supply is low, and therefore the price for a franchise quarterback is obscene. Teams are currently paying the going rate but there’s no real prediction for how long they will continue to do so.

Franchise quarterbacks don’t grow on trees. In fact, it’s more like hitting on a lottery ticket when a team finds one. By my count, there are 10-12 franchise quarterbacks in the NFL – and that’s including a handful that have some serious question marks about their recent play or near future. Teams are more likely NOT to have a franchise quarterback, yet they’re all still playing the lottery in hopes they’ll hit on one.

Eventually, a team is not going to be able to pay a quarterback on his 2nd or 3rd contract. The first general manager to let a franchise quarterback go due to money will be vilified by the fan base and media. He’ll give the standard line, “We have to do what is best for the team,” and he’ll truly believe that he is doing just that. The decision will likely be agonized over for months before it is actually made. He’ll be crucified for a decision that truly is best for the team. The results will eventually land him a big new contract or a place in line at the unemployment office.

The Road Less Traveled Might Be Better

A general manager decides not to pay his franchise quarterback and let him walk, or a new general manager takes over a new team without a franchise quarterback, now what? If a new GM is taking over a new team, it’s highly likely his franchise quarterback isn’t there. If he were, the previous general manager would likely still have his job. Without having to pay big money to a quarterback, a GM has a solid amount of cap space and resources because he’s not paying a significant portion of his cap to one player.

Kansas City took the route of shoring up their defense and trading for a “game managing” quarterback who is costing the Chiefs less than half of the top paid quarterbacks. According to the NFLPA league cap report, the Chiefs are currently 17th in cap space. They have about $18 million in dead money that’s taking up cap space this year. Because of cap logistics, that’s essentially $18 million in cap space that they’ll have available next season, in addition to anything that they roll over from this season.

Because the Chiefs won’t be spending that money on a franchise quarterback they’ll be able to add offensive weapons, offensive linemen, or even more defensive players this offseason. If they do it correctly, the Chiefs could surround Alex Smith with an impressive team.

When all factors are taken into consideration, this is the more viable way to build a team. Teams are more likely to be able to find good players at other positions and build efficiently than to get lucky and land a stud quarterback.

Taking the road less traveled also insulates the team from fluctuation due to a quarterback’s performance, or worse, injury. The Colts are the prime example. When Peyton Manning went down with an injury in 2011, the Colts went from a division winner and playoff team in 2010, to selecting 1st overall in the 2012 draft. If Andrew Luck were to go down with an injury, the Colts would struggle to win 2 or 3 games the rest of the season. The Packers are going through this now, but they’re better built than the Colts are to handle Aaron Rodgers missing a month.

It’s the same concept as diversifying a stock portfolio. Invest in many different areas so if one fails, the rest can support the collapse and it’s largely inconsequential. If a person is highly invested in one stock or one industry, and that industry or stock fails, his life savings is gone. In the same way, a general manager doesn’t want to invest solely in a quarterback, who if he fails, the whole team fails.

Nothing is infallible. Both roads have their potholes and turns to navigate. But considering both roads is necessary. It’s possible that building the team first then finding (or lucking into) the quarterback is the better road (Broncos, and possibly Jaguars next season). It’s also possible that landing the franchise quarterback first happens and a general manager has to build around him (Colts and Luck).

The examples of both roads are endless. The Panthers may just have their franchise quarterback in Cam Newton, but the lack of weapons around him makes it tough to really discern if he can make them into a contender. The Buccaneers appear to have the roster but have struggled at the quarterback position (and coaching) and it’s led a very talented team to a 1-8 record. The 49ers have an offensive line and a defense for Colin Kaepernick but haven’t provided him with the necessary receivers to really help him develop, and all this week he’s been crushed by the media for a lack of passing refinement. Seattle built the team and then lucked into their franchise quarterback and now they’re the favorite to win the NFC.

The overzealous approach of teams to find a “franchise” quarterback is the pain point. It’s possible to have success with the “right” quarterback, not the best one. Instead of spending so much time and resources chasing the uncatchable, set the team up for success and then get the franchise guy when he just happens to come along, like the Packers did with Rodgers, or the Seahawks did with Wilson.

There are many roads to success. Maybe more teams should follow Robert Frost’s footsteps and take the one less traveled.


Here is another article on it, from nflphilosophy. Really interesting topic.
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:09 PM   #10
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What if the Chiefs are smarter than everyone else? What if their approach is years ahead of every other teamís approach and we just donít realize it yet?
Negro, please.
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:38 PM   #11
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I think Flacco's deal and his performance will have someone with a QB at his level letting them go.

Outside of the top 3-5 guys these QB's with $100M contracts are team killers.

I tend to think that reality will push QB's higher up draft boards because they come so cheap there...
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:44 PM   #12
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Yeah, just build a great defense, draft O line every year, and throw John Q. Dingleberry behind Center!

CHAMPIONSHIP.

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Old 11-16-2013, 10:48 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Sweet Daddy Hate View Post
Yeah, just build a great defense, draft O line every year, and throw John Q. Dingleberry behind Center!

CHAMPIONSHIP.

Worked for the Giants and Ravens. Eli, Flacco, and Dilfer were decent to good. Not great.

Look at the Patriots. Once they their defense has turned to mediocre, no more super bowl wins despite what numbers Brady puts up.
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:50 PM   #14
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It's an interesting take.

Seems alot of these QB's got big contracts after a SB win, then SB wins become sparse.

Don't know if that has anything to do with the QB's or how you prove or disprove it, but it's interesting to talk about.
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Old 11-16-2013, 11:04 PM   #15
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