A trend is developing in the NFL. Teams are paying big money to free-agent quarterbacks who essentially have never played meaningful snaps in the league. At the same time, those teams are penalizing quarterbacks who have been designated failures because, as starters, they did not improve bad teams.
If this trend continues, it might change the way certain quarterbacks approach opportunities to start in the NFL. It might not be worth the risk.
The amount paid to the unproven QBs is massive. Houston in 2016 gave Brock Osweiler, who had started just seven NFL games, one of the worst modern quarterback contracts when it signed him to a deal worth $18 million per season. This year the Bears signed Mike Glennon, who started 13 games in 2013 and ’14 before he was benched, to a $15 million-per-year contract.
Game Youth Wendel Clark Jersey Neither QB was considered a can’t-miss prospect in the draft Osweiler was selected in the second round in 2012, and Glennon in the third round in 2013 and neither has played enough to change those pre-draft opinions. Osweiler sat behind Peyton Manning until (and after) the starter was injured. Glennon was replaced by Josh McCown and, eventually, Jameis Winston.
EJ Manuel recently signed a one-year contract worth $800,000 with no money guaranteed. Geno Smith signed a contract worth $1.2 million with an additional $800,000 in potential incentives. He received just $300,000 in guaranteed salary. Colin Kaepernick remains unemployed.
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Manuel and Smith generally were higher-regarded prospects than Glennon and Osweiler. Manuel was drafted in the first round in 2013, and Smith in the same class was given a first-round grade but dropped to the second round. Both started as rookies and for a portion of their second seasons.
By actually playing, all three became damaged goods and now are picking up the table scraps in free agency.