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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Ranking the ten worst quarterback values in 2019

Eli Manning

Which quarterbacks provide the worst value based on their contracts compared to their likely production in 2019? We have already identified the 10 best values at the position, starting with MVP Patrick Mahomes. Now, we turn to the opposite end of the spectrum, players that are being paid handsomely but where the value is not there.

Here’s a look at 10 quarterbacks who will provide the worst value based on their 2019 contracts.

10. Chase Daniel, Bears

Bless my boy Chase Daniel, who has made a great living as a backup. He has started four career games in the NFL and has a cap charge of $6 million this year. He will have earned over $30 million in the NFL after the upcoming season. That’s not bad money if you can get it, but when teams are able to sign guys like Ryan Tannehill and Blake Bortles for over half that amount, he’s not a very good value, while making more than a sizable minority of starting QBs on their rookie deal.

9. Nick Foles, Jaguars

Foles parlayed a Super Bowl-run in 2017 and solid play in relief again in 2018 into a starting gig in Jacksonville. He also shows the highest cost of doing business, though, as he signed for $88 million over four years, with $50 million of that guaranteed. His salary of $30 million for 2019 puts him in the same range as many big name starters, and now the expectations will be higher.

8. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers

Garoppolo signed a huge contract after the 2017 season, but managed to only play three games last year before suffering a knee injury in Kansas City. That means that while he is collecting $60 million in cash over the last two years, he has started only 10 NFL games, with injuries shortening both his opportunity to fill in for Tom Brady in New England and his first chance to enter a season as the unquestioned starter. The 49ers offense is productive, and we just saw Nick Mullens put up decent numbers (over 8 yards per attempt). So the expectation has to be Jimmy G must be fantastic to justify the cost. 2019 will be pivotal year in his career.

7. Kirk Cousins, Vikings

Cousins has the second-highest cap charge for 2019 at $29 million. He is yet another illustration of the high cost of getting decent but not MVP-level quarterback play. He was franchised for multiple years in Washington and then got his payday in Minnesota last year, but his play was uneven. He has a 34-37-2 career record as a starter.

6. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers extended Roethlisberger this offseason to a big money deal, and those cap charges ($26.2 million in 2019) are really going to start coming due soon. I already expressed my reservations over Pittsburgh committing to this deal based on Ben’s age and the fact he has had about as good of a supporting cast as possible for a quarterback his age. While playing with more Pro Bowlers than just about anyone in recent years, here are his ranks in Passer Rating: 13th, 9th, and 10th. That’s good, but considering he is playing with one of the best offensive lines in the league and has played with numerous Pro Bowl-caliber skill players, I would be worried about what he could look like at age 37 if there is any dropoff.

5. Derek Carr, Raiders

Derek Carr got paid a few years ago, and since then has been underwhelming. He will have cap charges just over $20 million in the coming years, but he has had one above-average season so far, and is under 7.0 yards per attempt for his career. He in fact set his career-high with a 7.3 yards per attempt a year ago, but does not seem like his place with the Raiders is secure if he doesn’t produce in 2019.

4. Matthew Stafford, Lions

Stafford is going to have cap charges of $29.5 million and $31.5 million over the next two seasons. That puts Stafford as the highest cap hit in 2019 and currently the fourth-highest for 2020. That means he really needs to be putting up top caliber performances to justify the cost. His first year with Matt Patricia as head coach was underwhelming, and he has been closer to a league-average passer in recent years.

3. Eli Manning, Giants

The Eli Manning tour of being honored in perpetuity continues for yet another season. It will likely be the eighth season in a row where the Giants do not win a playoff game, and Manning is 31-48 over the last five seasons as a starter. His numbers bounced back last year with the return of Odell Beckham Jr. and draft selection of Saquon Barkley, but he was not good, particularly in the red zone, where his play has dropped off the last few years. His cap charge is over $23 million, putting him in the top 10 in the league in the category, but he’s closer to a bottom 10 starter at this point.

2. Joe Flacco, Broncos

The Baltimore Ravens could finally get to a point they could have cut Flacco and moved on to Lamar Jackson. Denver decided, you know what, we want that contract. Flacco has averaged 16 touchdown passes and has been at 6.5 yards per attempt or under in each of the last four seasons. That is not worth nearly $21 million a year, which is what he is owed on average the next three seasons, and Flacco is not getting any younger.

1. Alex Smith, Redskins

Smith’s injury was devastating, and he may never play again. Washington has devoted a lot of resources to the quarterback position without much return yet, trading for Smith, signing him to a big deal, and then drafting Dwayne Haskins. Smith’s cap charge for the upcoming year is about $20 million, and while you cannot predict a catastrophic injury, it’s not second-guessing to say that the trade for Smith (and signing him to a new deal) was unlikely to work out.

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