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Old 11-16-2013, 02:24 PM  
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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, 11:06 PM   #16
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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.
ALL those QB's had GREAT moments along the way. They all played GREAT for a few games and once THE game was over, they were never the same. It happened to Eli twice. You need more than just a great defense today. The rules are against you.
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Old 11-16-2013, 11:18 PM   #17
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:12 AM   #18
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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...
Even the top 3-5 guys, though...

What has Aaron Rodgers done since getting his crazy huge contract?

They had to cut their best receiver, and their defense and offense line is horrendous.
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:17 AM   #19
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Even the top 3-5 guys, though...

What has Aaron Rodgers done since getting his crazy huge contract?

They had to cut their best receiver, and their defense and offense line is horrendous.
Greg Jennings has done a spectacular job of raising the level of QB play in Minnesota.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:32 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by GloucesterChief View Post
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.
Eli was drafted first overall and played at an extremely high level to win those 2 rings. Stating otherwise is retarded.

Joe Flacco was a first round pick and played at an elite level throughout the playoffs to win the MVP award and get his jewlery.

To try to lump either of those guys in with Trent Dilfer is disingenuous at best.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:35 AM   #21
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Eli was drafted first overall and played at an extremely high level to win those 2 rings. Stating otherwise is retarded.

Joe Flacco was a first round pick and played at an elite level throughout the playoffs to win the MVP award and get his jewlery.

To try to lump either of those guys in with Trent Dilfer is disingenuous at best.
While true, flacco at least is being paid like a guy who can carry a team.

I'm not sure he can and I think we are seeing Eli can't either.

Maybe they can at times, but if being paid and taking up that much cap space, you need more than can at times, IMO.

Either way, it's a good conversation about team building.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:48 AM   #22
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Eli Mannings td:int ratio in his 2 superbowl playoff runs...
15td 1int

Joe Flaccos td:int ratio in his superbowl playoff run...
11tds:0ints


Joe Flacco the last 3 years in the playoffs...
18tds 2 ints

Eli Mannings last 4 playoff runs...
17tds 5ints

Anyone that would suggest that either of these teams should move on from these guys and just let them walk versus paying them market value might have a good conversation until you let your quarterback walk and replace him with someone not as good and needing development.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:51 AM   #23
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Eli Mannings td:int ratio in his 2 superbowl playoff runs...
15td 1int

Joe Flaccos td:int ratio in his superbowl playoff run...
11tds:0ints


Joe Flacco the last 3 years in the playoffs...
18tds 2 ints

Eli Mannings last 4 playoff runs...
17tds 5ints

Anyone that would suggest that either of these teams should move on from these guys and just let them walk versus paying them market value might have a good conversation until you let your quarterback walk and replace him with someone not as good and needing development.
But you aren't paying them for what they've done, it's what they will do int he future. If they aren't good enough to carry a potential lesser team because of their contract, are they worth it?

Or could you take a slightly lesser qb, Alana young draft pick etc, build your team around him while not breaking the bank on him and try and win that way?

With the new passing rules, it's making it easier and easier for lesser qbs to be adequate.

So if that's the case, why pay big money for guys who rely on the talent around them when you can get the same thig for cheaper?
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:54 AM   #24
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Those stats are against all playoff defenses, too.

Alex Smiths stats in 9 starts against almost exclusively non playoff teams?

9tds 4ints

If I have the choice between paying either Eli or Flacco 20 or Alex Smith 11-12, I'd GLADLY take Flacco or Manning and posters here that say they wouldn't probably don't even watch playoff games.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:56 AM   #25
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The question is, pay big money for a guy elevated by those around him not the other way around, which in turn handicaps what you put around him?

Its a tough decision and one I'm glad I don't have to make.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:58 AM   #26
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O, it's not like Eli and Flacco did it with elite talent all around them...of course they got paid for what they can do in the future. What makes you think they can't repeat those performances WHEN THEIR TEAM NEEDS IT THE MOST?
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:58 AM   #27
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Those stats are against all playoff defenses, too.

Alex Smiths stats in 9 starts against almost exclusively non playoff teams?

9tds 4ints

If I have the choice between paying either Eli or Flacco 20 or Alex Smith 11-12, I'd GLADLY take Flacco or Manning and posters here that say they wouldn't probably don't even watch playoff games.
Paying them that means you probably lose Houston and or Poe etc.

I don't think those two are good enough for that to happen.

When they haven't had great situations around them, they haven't been a whole lot more than a mistake prone qb.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:59 AM   #28
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O, it's not like Eli and Flacco did it with elite talent all around them...of course they got paid for what they can do in the future. What makes you think they can't repeat those performances WHEN THEIR TEAM NEEDS IT THE MOST?
All around them on offense? Maybe not.

But look at he defenses etc. it's not just about offensive weapons.

And if they can't cart the team to a position where they can make those repeat performances, what's the point?
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Old 11-17-2013, 11:00 AM   #29
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I think much of what Flacco accomplished in his. SB run was due in large part to Anquan Boldin.

At the same time, I think there's only a handful of QBs that could give those opportunities to Boldin.

I am of the opinion that Flacco is overpaid.

He's not a guy that raises the level of play.
He's a guy that needs weapons, who plays to their level.
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Old 11-17-2013, 11:00 AM   #30
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So if by some chance the Chiefs win the Superbowl and the choice boiled down to giving Smith a big contract or he walks, what do you do. If you keep Smith you have to let some of the guys on defense go.

So far, everyone has paid their boarder line franchise guy after he wins a SB.

As a GM your job is to build a team capable of winning multiple SBs. Can you do it by rotating guys at the QB position and investing long term in the other parts of the team? The other factor is that QBs can stay at their prime level far longer than players at other positions.
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