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Super QB or Complete Team

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1 hour ago, Myles said:

Interesting read on this subject:



In the era of the booming salary cap, quarterbacks are being paid a disproportionately high percentage of their team’s available dollars. They account for the 14 largest salary cap hits in 2018—in 2011, there were six QBs in the top 14. Denver quarterback Case Keenum has the same cap hit in 2018 as Houston defensive end J.J. Watt. San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s guaranteed salary this season is higher than the entire salary cap for a team in 1996. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is making $66.9 million this year as part of his new deal, which is $4 million more than a team’s entire salary cap in 2000.

The problem with teams committing so much of their cap space to quarterbacks is that it is clearly an unsuccessful strategy. None of the five highest-paid quarterbacks in 2018 by average salary—Rodgers, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins, Garoppolo, and Detroit’s Matthew Stafford—made the playoffs. 


This is a flawed analysis.


One, ranking QBs by average salary isn't a good indication of the percentage of cap hit they accounted for in a specific season. For example, Matt Ryan's average is $30m/year, but his 2018 cap hit was $17.7m. That's just 10% of the cap. 


Two, sticking with the Falcons, they didn't miss the playoffs because Matt Ryan makes too much money, or took up too much of the cap. The more likely reason is that they had one of the worst defenses in the league, by pretty much any metric -- points, yards, conversions, DVOA, you name it. Having Deion Jones, Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen out for most of the year is the primary reason the defense struggled. By the time those players got hurt, money wasn't a factor. 


Three, I don't see how any of the bolded is relevant. Just sensational factoids. The reasons there are more QBs in the top 14 compared to 2011 is that teams don't have $60m rookies on their payrolls anymore, and that money has been funneled to veterans, starting with QBs. Another reason is that teams paid bad QBs, like Keenum. And how present-day players are paid compared with players from 20-30 years ago just doesn't matter in this discussion. Von Miller makes more than the '95 Cowboys entire defense, and he signed his deal three years ago. Khalil Mack makes 20% more than Miller. It's not important.


Four, define success. Is it making the playoffs? Are we saying you can build a good team around a $25m quarterback -- Andrew Luck or Drew Brees -- but you can't spend another $3m on your QB because then you'll be the Niners? Isn't the main problem in SF that JG blew out his knee, not that he's making too much money? Now that Seattle is paying RW $35m/year, if they miss the playoffs are we going to say it's because he's paid too much, even though they still have $20m in cap space, and $80m in 2020?


This is a false cause. If a team has a highly paid QB but isn't winning, it's either because the QB isn't as good as his salary indicates, or it's because something is wrong with the rest of the team. It's not because a good team can't have a QB making more than X percent of the cap.

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