The Year Of The Bargain-Basement QB

On the Chinese calendar, 2022 is the Year of the Tiger.  Those versed in the astrological arts say that this Year of the Tiger should be associated with enthusiasm, adventure and risk-taking; it is also a year that favors creativity.  Chinese astrology would encourage folks to live out the Year of the Tiger in 2022 aligned with the motto:

  • Go big or go home.

I am not into astrology, so I just look at things as they are and try to see if there is a theme or a trend in my “data”.  Coming from that starting point, I am here to declare that, in the NFL, this is the Year of the Bargain-Basement QB.

There is a cadre of very expensive QBs in the league who have under-performed their previous achievements and who have not played up to the cost they have imposed on their teams.  In alphabetical order:

  • Derek Carr:  He will take down $25M in 2022.  There are QBs making more whose teams are not doing as well as the Raiders, but Carr is no bargain in 2022.
  • Kyler Murray:  His new contract is 5-years and $230.5M with $103M guaranteed.  His cost for 2022 is $30M; this was a down year for Murray and the Cards even before his injury.
  • Aaron Rodgers:  His new 3-year deal with the Packers averages out at $50M per year for Rodgers.  This has been arguably the worst year of his career.
  • Matt Ryan:  His contract calls for an average annual salary of $30M; in 2022, he will earn $24.9M.  He – and his team – are in melt-down mode in 2022.
  • Matthew Stafford:  His 4-year deal averages out to $40M per year; his on-field numbers in 2022 are not worth $40M.
  • Carson Wentz:  He will make $28.3M in 2022.  ‘Nuff said…
  • Russell Wilson:  His brand new 5-year contract with the Broncos has an average salary of $48.5M and he will earn $52M in 2022.  Wow…

The combined team records for these 7 QBs is 35-61-2.  Some of those QBs have been injured so their combined record as the starting QB for 2022 is 29-54-1.  Unimpressive…

However, the obverse seems also to be true in 2022.  There are also stone-cold bargains at the QB position who are producing results for their teams that are superior to the results above.

  • Joe Burrow:  He is in the third year of a 4-year contract that has an average salary of $9M.  The Bengals are 10-4 this year and he has started every game.
  • Taylor Heinicke:  He is in the final year of a 2-year contract; given its bonus structure, it looks as if he will make about $4M for 2022.  He has started 8 games and the Commanders are 5-2-1 in those games.
  • Justin Herbert:  He is in the third year of a r4e-year contract with an average salary of $6.6M.  The Chargers are 8-6 this year and Herbert has started every game.
  • Jalen Hurts:  He is in the third year of a 4-year contract that has an average salary of $1.6M.  The Eagles are 13-1 this year and Hurts has started every game.
  • Daniel Jones:  He is in the final year of a 4-year contract that has an average salary of $6.4M.  The Giants are 8-5-1 and he has started every game.
  • Mac Jones:  He is in the second year of a 4-year contract that has an average salary of $3.9M.  The Pats are 7-7 and he has started every game.
  • Tua Tagovailoa:  He is in the third year of a 4-year contract that has an average salary of $7.6M.  The Dolphins are 8-6; Tua has started 12 games this year and the Dolphins are 8-4 in those 12 games.

The combined record for these teams is an impressive 61-35-1 and in games started by those 7 “bargain QBs” the team record is 59-29-1.

I could also argue that the Niners have started 3 different QBs on their way to a division title that is already secured in 2022 and all those QBs could be considered a bargain using the yardstick of the five “expensive QBs” listed above.  Moreover, the Jets have managed to remain “playoff-relevant” here in mid-December having started a trio of QBs who would also qualify as bargains there.

Let me be clear; I am not saying that “expensive QBs” don’t make sense for NFL teams because Patrick Mahomes is “expensive”, and he wins games for the Chiefs.  Dak Prescott is “expensive”, and he wins games for the Cowboys.  Kirk Cousins is “expensive”, and he wins games for the Vikes.

Moreover, it seems clear to me that at a minimum, Burrow, Herbert and Hurts will join the list of “expensive” QBs in the near future and perhaps Tua and the “Jones boys” will do so also.  However, the NFL should look back on 2022 as the Year of the Bargain-Basement QB just as the devotees of Chinese Astrology will see it as the Year of the Tiger.

  • [Aside:  In the Year of the Tiger, might we expect to see a Super Bowl between the Bengals and the Lions?  Spooky stuff…]

Finally, since today had to do with astrology – – obliquely to be sure – – let me close with two observations about astrology:

“I don’t believe in astrology; I’m a Sagittarius and we’re skeptical.”  [Arthur C. Clarke]

And …

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.”  [John Kenneth Galbraith]

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



2 thoughts on “The Year Of The Bargain-Basement QB”

  1. I may be mistaken, but other than Heineke, aren’t those other budget QBs all on their entry level deals? Giants may regret not picking up Daniel Jones option before the season.

    1. Ed:

      I believe so.

      Giants look as if they are going to make the playoffs in 2022. Coming off that sort of a season, I cannot believe they think they can/should try for a rookie QB in the Draft. therefore, they are going to have to pay up for an NFL QB “worthy of” a team coming off a playoff season. that is going to be more $$$ than Daniel Jones’ 5th year option would have been.

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