A couple of the NFL’s superstars have received some serious cash this offseason.
On April 17, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts signed a five-year contract extension worth up to $255 million, with $110 million fully guaranteed. The deal gave the 24-year-old an average annual salary of $51 million and made him the highest-paid player in NFL history.
BREAKING: Quarterback Jalen Hurts has become the highest-paid player in NFL history after signing a five-year, $255 million contract extension with the @Eagles
— Decyfr Sport (@DecyfrSport) April 17, 2023
But Hurts’ reign as the NFL’s highest earner lasted just 10 days.
On April 27, following months of speculation, quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens agreed to a five-year, $260 million contract extension, with $185 million guaranteed. His annual salary of $52 million means Jackson is now the highest-paid player in NFL history, instead of Hurts.
ICYMI: The @Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson have agreed to a five-year, $260 million contract extension
Jackson is now the highest-paid player in NFL history ?
— Decyfr Sport (@DecyfrSport) April 28, 2023
New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers signed a three-year contract extension worth $150.8 million with the Green Bay Packers in March 2022, making him the highest-paid player in the NFL at the time – with an average annual salary of $50.2 million.
Hurts finished second in league MVP voting last season and led the Eagles to an appearance in Super Bowl LVII. Jackson, on the other hand, was named the 2019 NFL MVP and has won 45 of the 61 career regular season games he’s started. And Rodgers is a four-time NFL MVP and Super Bowl XLV Champion. All deserved their record-breaking paydays, and their signings show the new going rate for a superstar quarterback may be around $50 million a year.
The Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow and the Los Angeles Chargers’ Justin Herbert are all but guaranteed to be the next quarterbacks to sign monster deals. Both were drafted in 2020, meaning their original, four-year rookie contracts were due to lapse at the conclusion of the upcoming season. However, both Burrow and Herbert have had their teams pick up the fifth-year options on their deals. The options keep Burrow and Herbert in Cincinnati and Los Angeles, respectively, until the end of the 2024 season.
The star quarterback from the 2019 NFL Draft, Kyler Murray, has already signed a new deal, which places all eyes firmly on Burrow, Herbert and their contract situations – and both could be looking at bumper new deals, involving serious, albeit well-earned, money.
Joe Burrow led Cincinnati to Super Bowl LVI, the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance since the 1988 season, and in the process, won their first playoff game since the 1990 season. Justin Herbert was named the 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year for a season in which he shattered previous passing records for first-year quarterbacks, and in the 2021 season, set franchise records for passing yards and passing touchdowns.
The Bengals and Chargers are both reportedly engaged in contract talks with their franchise quarterbacks and deals are, unsurprisingly, more a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. But with recently improved salaries for Hurts and Jackson in mind, these deals will more than likely reach the $50 million per year mark – the exact number Herbert is reportedly looking for, whereas there’s speculation Burrow could take less in order for the Bengals to keep some of their key players and remain competitive.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will more than likely have to enter contract negotiations with their star quarterback soon as well. Admittedly, Trevor Lawrence hasn’t had the same postseason success as Burrow, or put up impressive passing stats like Herbert. But he has improved in his second season – and first under new head coach Doug Pederson – which included a Pro Bowl appearance, and orchestrating the third-largest comeback win in NFL playoff history.
After his 27-point comeback win against the Chargers, @Trevorlawrencee has still NEVER lost a High School, College or @NFL game played on a Saturday ?#Decyfr #UnlockFandom #NFL #DUUUVAL pic.twitter.com/0LojzGUIEz
— Decyfr Sport (@DecyfrSport) January 16, 2023
Giving one player a large amount of money impacts a team’s ability to win, as the NFL’s salary cap may prevent them from retaining important players. But quarterback is clearly the most important position in the game, and franchises cannot risk losing a star signal caller.
Just as the Kansas City Chiefs proved this year, teams can still give quarterbacks gargantuan contracts and compete for Super Bowls with smart signings and savvy draft picks – as Patrick Mahomes signed a 10-year, half-a-billion dollar extension in 2020.
So the Bengals, Chargers, and even Jaguars know that if they want to keep the face of the franchise, they’re going to have to pay for it.
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