In the past, a proven Super Bowl winning quarterback earns a hefty pay day. What young, successful signal callers may now have to decide between is personal status and fielding a winning team. Nowadays, the quarterback’s contract could be a major contributing factor in retaining that stud left tackle, a killer pass-rush or a favorite go-to receiver.
One has to wonder if that was on the mind of Tom Brady, when he restructured his deal with the New England Patriots last month, especially taking a pay cut. Regardless, several other franchises have restructured contracts as well; Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees have both altered wording in their contracts to get ‘guaranteed money’ so as to keep the franchise’s salary cap lower for overall spending. Notably though, both of those teams did not make the play-offs last year. On the flip-side, San Francisco is paying next to nothing for Colin Kaepernick, thanks to the new CBA, but realizing that his rookie contract can be altered at the end of next season, the 49ers are spending hand-over-fist to win now rather than later.
Every player in the NFL wants to get paid, and while no one is faulting them that, it’s also at the heart of all this. If a quarterback makes $40M or $80M or $120M over his career, most will say that is secondary to winning play-off games and Super Bowls. Prior to this CBA, a quarterback didn’t have to choose between one or the other; the owner and GM did. It will be curious to see in the next few years if a young man will ‘take one for the team’, and worry less about his hand in his pockets and more about the rings on his fingers. After all, whether a quarterback makes $5M a year or $10M a year over ten years, people will still call him Millionaire when he’s 60 years old. But will they call him a “legend” or a “bust”.
We can ask Flacco at the end of next season. Or at the end of the season after that…which is when his big contract will probably be voided.