Every year, NFL quarterbacks reset the market by pushing their annual salary higher and higher. Way, way, way back at the end of June, Derek Carr became the league’s highest paid player, averaging $25 million per year. Matthew Stafford has, as expected, blown that number out of the water with $27 million per year.
The price for quarterbacks is going up, not down. Now everyone will mention Tom Brady taking less than market to keep the Patriots competitive. We have seen people mention that his wife makes more money than him, plus Brady sells everything from Uggs to Aston Martins to weird diet books.
It may be easy to overlook that the rest of the team has to follow this hometown discount. Brady’s (somewhat) below market deal at the time did not allow the Patriots to keep some of their top players, Chandler Jones or Jamie Collins. So, I ask, what is the point here? Maybe Atlanta tries to keep Ryan’s salary down, but risks losing Vic Beasley and Deion Jones if they want to be paid their market price.
The Patriots have been the exception to most NFL rules, and salaries will continue to be that exception. If Mike Glennon can average at $17 million per year, there is no way you can approach the MVP and ask him to take $20 million. This is the NFL, where your hometown discount makes you easier to dispense as soon as your play falls off.
Ryan risks injury to be one of the league’s best quarterbacks. He’s more qualified than Carr or Stafford, and the Falcons will definitely be paying his asking price. Prepare for that to be $30 million per year if signed next year. It’s simply the price you have to pay if you want a proven quarterback. The team could save a few million if they sign him today, but they have not historically seemed worried about the cap.