The quarterback position has long been the most important in the game of football, and the way it has evolved in recent years has certainly done nothing to change that. If you have an excellent quarterback, then you are always going to have a reasonable chance to succeed, if not compete for a Super Bowl. That cannot be said of any other position.
That is why the quarterbacks make significantly more than any other position. No other player on the team is more indispensable. Which is why organizations are more willing to bind themselves to a quarterback than they are a player from any other spot.
When your quarterback plays at a high level, it’s all worth it. When he doesn’t, well…it can ruin a franchise for a period of time. Just look at how many quarterbacks the Cleveland Browns have drafted, signed, and traded for, and how long it has taken them to stumble into a possible solution in Baker Mayfield.
Because of the significance of the position—and the significance of the investment in it—ESPN recently ranked every NFL team based on the extend to which they are committed to their current top quarterback. The Pittsburgh Steelers, with Ben Roethlisberger, were ranked eighth after working out a new two-year extension worth $68 million that binds him to the organization through the 2021 season.
“The Steelers guarantee only the signing bonus for their contracts, so technically they wouldn’t owe Roethlisberger another dime if they cut him after 2019”, the article reads. “That said, they would incur a $25 million cap hit by doing that, and they don’t have an obvious replacement on the roster”.
“Roethlisberger is 37 and coming off a 5,000-yard season, and his perennial hints about retirement seem to have ceased’, it goes on. “There’s a pretty good chance he’s in Pittsburgh at least two more seasons”.
According to reports, the Steelers sought a verbal commitment from Roethlisberger before working out the two-year extension that he was prepared to play out the contract, given that he has hinted at retirement in the recent past and would not say with certainty that he would play beyond the current season.
It’s easier to convince yourself to commit to more than one year when you add an extra $34 million per season, though.
Matt Ryan with the Atlanta Falcons was ranked as the most binding quarterback-team pairing. Ryan is under contract through 2023 on a five-year, $150 million deal, of which $100 million was fully guaranteed.
Following Ryan was Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Nick Foles, Kirk Cousins, rookie first-overall pick Kyler Murray with the Arizona Cardinals, and Matthew Stafford. Rounding out the top ten were Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold, a pair of second-year quarterback who were drafted within the top three in 2018.