Each year during the playoffs, we hear about the value some teams are getting at the quarterback position. Russell Wilson’s rookie contract was hailed for how it afforded the Seattle Seahawks room to add high priced talent on both sides of the ball. We’ve heard the same thing about Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, and Jared Goff.
The most recent discussion involved this tweet from Albert Breer.
The APY of the 8 remaining QBs (with league rank) ...— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 11, 2019
1. Brees (6) $25.0M
2. Luck (8) $24.6M
3. Rivers (14) $20.8M
4. Brady (21) $15.0M
5. Goff (26) $7.0M
6. Foles (31) $5.5M
7. Mahomes (37) $4.1M
8. Prescott (69) $681K
Fact: No QB making $20M per has EVER won a Super Bowl.
Shortly after that tweet, I came across this tweet from a Patriots reporter.
Winning the SB & having modest QB cap % has historically been a v-real thing. When it spikes, tough to pull off—usually doesn’t happen. Certainly doesn’t help. Below is old graphic from FBF days, tweet updates last 3:— Matt Chatham (@chatham58) January 11, 2019
Manning ‘15: 12.2% cap
Brady ‘16: 8.9% cap
Foles ‘17: 1% pic.twitter.com/V3oGu5fkwD
Here are the remaining quarterbacks heading into the divisional round based on percentage of the cap, per Chatham:
Brady & Rivers (same): 12.4%
This got me thinking about Jimmy Garoppolo. His APY is $27.5 million, so clearly well north of the $20 million figure Breer mentioned. But what about his cap hit as a percentage of the 49ers total cap? For the 2018 year, Garoppolo has a cap hit of $37 million, which is 20.9 percent of the $177.2 million salary cap. However, the 49ers also front-loaded his contract with a huge roster bonus. For the 2019 season, Garoppolo has a cap hit of $19,350,000. The 2019 cap is projected at around $190 million, which means his cap hit would be 10.2 percent of the 2019 salary cap.
The 49ers have a ton of cap space, thanks in part to Garoppolo’s cap hit going down in year two. It rises back up over $26 million in year three and remains there, but even still, the continued sizable annual increases in the salary cap suggest the 49ers can avoid cap trouble and still make important additions to the roster. They will probably eventually extend DeForest Buckner, but even with a high-end contract, that seems like something they can manage even with Garoppolo’s deal on the books. It would make things a little tighter eventually having two contracts at or near the top of the line for their position, but they’ve shown discipline and creativity to date in getting deals done.