Why aren't the NFL's best QBs the best-paid QBs?

in 2018 the best quarterback in football

was chief star Patrick mahomes for his

50 touchdown season the league MVP took

home less cash and had a smaller cap hit

that Falcons back up Matt shop raise

your hand if you thought Matt Schaub

retired five years ago in 2019 Holmes

will make less than the likes of Robert

Griffin Trevor Simeon and Chad Henne the

latter of whom just happens to be

Patrick Roy Holmes's backup Tom Brady

meanwhile will settle for less than Eli

Manning or Joe Flacco something about

this is wrong

sure mahomes will eventually sign his

monster deal in brady he has enough

money to last him for generations

without even thinking about Giselle's

contributions but why is it that the

highest paid quarterback in the league

is rarely also the best quarterback in

the NFL the answer has to do with how

NFL contracts work we might rank

quarterbacks on ability but NFL deals

aren't about talent or past success

they're about leverage being good enough

isn't good enough the only way to really

get paid is to either hit the free agent

market or get close enough to scare your

organization into painting up

quarterbacks on rookie deals under the

current CBA don't have any leverage

because they're locked in before they're

even drafted mahomes will make thirteen

point seven million over the first three

years of his deal before the chiefs are

even allowed to give him an extension

that's even better than that Prescott

who maxed out at just two million

dollars over his first three seasons as

a fourth round pick the best way for a

veteran to get leverage is to bet on

himself and win take Flacco who didn't

sign an extension before the final year

of his deal with the Ravens in 2012 and

he subsequently went on to win the Super

Bowl a cash-strapped Ravens team was

forced to ship off the legs of Anquan

Boldin to give Flacco a 6 year 120 point

six million dollar deal that offseason

even worse to make it cat friendly

Baltimore had to structure the contract

in such a way to ensure that they would

need to get Flacco a second extension

after three years

that's how Flacco tore his ACL in 2015

and still managed

a three-year extension with a forty

million dollar signing bonus the

following offseason as a result of those

two deals between 2013 and 2018 Flacco

took home a total of 124 million dollars

in cash for impeccably mediocre

quarterbacking the Ravens were blinded

by one brilliant postseason and they

paid a guy like he was the guy the two

highest-paid quarterbacks over that time

Aaron Rodgers Matt Ryan each of whom won

MVP awards makes sense the guy just

ahead of Flacco in third was Matthew

Stafford who still hasn't won a playoff

game but has benefited from his team's

dismal accounting in 2009 Detroit

drafted Stafford with the first overall


under the old CBA which had no draft

slotting as a result the Lions gave

Stafford a six-year 72 million dollar

deal before he ever took a Pro snap that

would be the equivalent of the Cardinals

giving Kyler Murray a deal averaging 18

point four million dollars per year in

2019 instead Murray's actual deal

averages less than nine million dollars

per season the Lions were also on the

hook for similar deals with fellow

first-round picks Calvin Johnson and the

Dominick ensue and to build a team

around their three young stars Detroit

borrowed from their future the Lions

restructured Stafford's rookie deal

twice in four years before giving him a

three-year fifty three million dollar

extension in 2013 the short-term deal

ensured that Stafford would be in line

to make it to free agency before turning

30 and what the Lions having no better

option at quarterback

they gave Stafford a fifty million

dollar signing bonus as part of a

record-breaking five-year 135 million

dollar extension before 2018 the 31 year

old will have the largest cap hit in

football this season so yes when you

look towards the highest paid

quarterbacks in football there are guys

like Rogers Ben Roethlisberger and Drew

Brees near the top of the list that's


and nobody's gonna regret paying them

big bucks but guys like Cousins Flacco

and Stafford they're right alongside

them or even ahead of them when it comes

to contracts

and that's a product of leverage not