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The NFL Draft is almost here and there are a few things still up in the air. Quarterbacks have been the hot topic this off-season with a few signal callers changing teams. There are a few hurlers who still don’t know how clear their future is or when their big pay day will come.
The Tampa Buccaneers have picked up the fifth-year option on quarterback Jameis Winston’s contract. The 24-year old is set to make around $21 million in 2019 after making $25 million in the first four years of the contract. The option-pickup is usually a precursor for a long-term contract extension. At times, Winston has shown immaturity on and off the field. The question is how willing are the Buccaneers to hand over the franchise to Winston for an extended period?
He’s a talented player with 69 touchdowns in 45 career starts. He averages 258.6 passing yards per game with eight career game winning drives. Tampa Bay has had little success in that span, not reaching double digit wins or the playoffs in any of his three seasons as the starter.
Tampa Bay has given themselves more time to evaluate Winston’s play and behavior. They can also utilize the franchise tag for two more seasons after the entire contract is over. If they feel he is the guy they want, a long-term deal should come sooner than later.
The Atlanta Falcons have told us one thing after another about Matt Ryan and his contract situation. A few weeks after the season, general manager Thomas Dimitroff stressed that getting Ryan’s contract done was a “top priority” of the organization. Top usually means something that gets done first but the Falcons have not made a move on that front yet.
During the scouting combine, Dimitroff met with Ryan’s agent Tom Condon to open talks and sort out possible numbers. Condon has worked out huge deals for some of his other players recently, most notably Sam Bradford, Matthew Stafford and Drew Brees. Ryan signed a five-year $103.75 million contract back in 2013. The contract numbers for an extension are expected to be around $150 million over five years with $100 million garaunteed.
He has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league ranking fourth amongs active players averaging 264.5 pass yards per game. Leading the Falcons to the Super Bowl after the 2016 season is also on his resume. The team has made almost no moves in way of free agency without knowing exactly how much they will have to pay the former MVP. Still, the sentiment from the team is that a deal will come soon. Ryan and Condon could be the one’s stalling. However, if another player signs a big deal, they could request a bigger payout.
Aaron Rodgers, who is widely considered the best quarterback in the NFL, has thrown 313 touchdowns in 142 career starts. Rodgers signed a five-year $110 million contract in 2013. He is set to make $20.3 million in 2018 and 20.5 million in 2019. Those numbers are drastically lower (per year average) then the highest paid quarterbacks.
Reports came out on Tuesday that Rodgers was frustrated with being cut out of the decisions that the Green Bay Packers are making including cutting wide receiver Jordy Nelson and signing tight end Jimmy Graham. Rodgers quickly qwelled those talks later in the day by saying, “I know my role and that’s to play as well as I possibly can at quarterback.” Rodgers assured anyone who would listen that he’s not trying to meddle in front office affairs.
Whether or not he’s telling the truth, a new contract will be an issue until it gets done. With the salary cap rising, Rodgers could demand close to $200 million on a new contract. No other quarterback that has signed an extension so far this off season has accomplished more in the NFL. With the numbers being floated around and paid to other players, the Packers could be in for a tough negotiation.