While people balked at Colin Kaepernick getting $61 million guaranteed in his new six-year deal (which apparently is really team-friendly), ESPN’s Adam Schefter says Kap’s deal is going to pail in comparison to the type of deals that Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson are going to get next off-season.
Word around NFL is that when Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson get new deals next year, they will come in between $24-$25 million per year.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 5, 2014
When you really think about it, doesn’t it make more sense that the most important position in sports is becoming the highest paid position in sports?
I think Andrew Luck may end up being being the best quarterback in the NFL at some point over the next five years, so if he gets the league’s biggest deal, I’m not sure if I can argue with it.
But the cases of Wilson and Kaepernick actually compare very well to that of Nick Foles. Obviously Foles hasn’t reached a Superbowl like the other two have (or won one in the case of Wilson), but I think in many senses the other two were key players on very good teams, but they weren’t the best. Still, because they are in an elite system, and still performing at a very high level, they are going to be paid like they are the very best in their positions. Are they? No, they are both top ten quarterbacks, but they aren’t at the level of Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers. But if they are on a great team and play very well, then what does it matter? If you find a guy who you believe can consistently put your team in a position to win a Superbowl, then you pay him.
2014 will largely be about finding out whether or not Nick Foles can be that guy. Do I believe that Nick Foles could step on any team and throw 27 touchdowns and two interceptions? No, but what difference does that make when he isn’t on another team? If Foles can continue to excel in Chip Kelly’s system, and show signs of being the type of quarterback that THEY could win a title with, then I really don’t see much of an issue with giving him $19 million a year.
The difference between Foles and Kaepernick/Wilson is that chances are Foles isn’t going to be in a position to get to a Superbowl in 2014. While I don’t think it’s impossible that the Eagles offense gets insanely hot in January and makes a few playoff upsets, the Eagles obviously lack the elite defenses that the other two have, that put them in a position to be a serious Superbowl contender.
All Foles can do is try to continue to develop in the offense, as he has no control over the defense. Within the next three or four years, if the Eagles can build that defense up to be anywhere near that of the 49ers or Seahawks, and you think that combined with Nick Foles leading your offense can win you a title, then you pay Foles the market value.
Unfortunately, the Eagles will have to likely make that determination next off-season, when Foles is eligible to re-negotiate his deal for the first time. They don’t have to re-do his deal-he can’t be a free-agent until after the 2015 season-but it would be a distraction if he entered the 2015 season without a new deal. (That’s assuming he performs at a level where you want to lock him up long-term, in the 2014 season.)
As for what that value would be, you would think it will fall somewhere between Kaepernick’s deal and Wilson’s. It isn’t that I necessarily think that Foles is better than Kaepernick (he certainly wouldn’t fit this offense better), but if Wilson gets $25 million, that will be the deal fresher in everyone’s mind. Wilson is going to get more money than Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning will got, because he will have a chance to negotiate before the other two, with at least one Superbowl trophy still fresh in everyone’s mind. He isn’t better than them, but if the Seahawks don’t give him that $25 million, someone else is going to. Is he a Superbowl winning quarterback on another team? Maybe not, but teams would back the truck up to pay him like one.
I think once Wilson gets $24 or $25 million a year, and potentially more guaranteed money than Kaepernick, then that opens up the door for Foles to get $22 million or so if he became a free-agent. At that point, I think it’s hard to see a scenario where Foles doesn’t make something like $19 or $20 million a year. I can’t imagine him getting $61 million guaranteed in free-agency, but the team probably won’t get Foles to take a deal that requires him to pay back a majority of his guaranteed money if he gets hurt, like Kaepernick did.
In short, the more other young quarterbacks get paid, the more a Nick Foles extension is going to cost. Isn’t it strange to think that a majority of us were willing to move him for a mid-round draft pick prior to last season? Now ‘Nicky Franchise’ is on pace to get the biggest deal (at least annual salary wise) in franchise history. Sports are all about “What have you done for me lately”, especially in this town.