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Breaking Down the Summer of Quarterback Extensions

The 2013 offseason has been the summer of the quarterback, as 6 major play-callers found themselves putting the pen to paper on extensions with their current teams. While numerically many of these figures resemble each other, the nature of the contracts have different origins. Tom Brady's extension was almost entirely to restructure his current cap figure to free up team space for the Patriots. Contracts for Matthew Stafford and Tony Romo were 2-fold in that they restructured current cap figures, but also added well-deserved years onto each player. Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco had simply outgrown their rookie contracts, and deserved to be paid the maximum sophomore extension.

This being said, each contract has its own unique elements specific to the team, the player's age, the overall confidence in the value of the deal, etc. We'll use the space below to make note of the various aspects of these six contracts, and graphically display the cap values for each to show certain trends that are being built in (i.e. 3 Years and Out).

Annual Cap Hit Breakdowns
Players are group by colors based on the type of their signing: restructure (blue), rookie extension (red), veteran extension (green)
  Rodgers Romo Brady Flacco Ryan Stafford
2013 12 11.818833 13.8 6.8 7.6 17.82
2014 17.9 21.773 14.8 14.8 17.5 15.82
2015 18.6 25.273 13 14.55 19.5 17.27125
2016 19.6 15.135 14 28.55 23.75 22.5
2017 20.65 19 15 31.15 23.75 22
2018 20.9 19.5   24.75 21.65  
2019 21.1 20.5        

Cap hit numbers are in millions.

3 Year Compensation

Rodgers, Ryan, and Flacco all find themselves with over $60M to earn in in the first three seasons, Romo right behind at $57M. You'll notice the upfront guaranteed 3 year compensation is considerably less, as most of these deals involve at least one option bonus.

Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford's contracts have considerably less compensation from 2013-15 because of the large amount of accelerated dead money carried over from their previous deal (Stafford: $22.87M, Brady: $7.2M). In essence these deals were completed to conserve cap space across 2013 and 2014, and thus the compensation becomes less.

Terms Average Signing Bonus Guaranteed
7 yrs / $130,750,000 $18,678,571 $35,000,000 $54,000,000

View the entire Rodgers Contract The 2nd highest rated QB (according to PFF) in 2012 received an average of $22M per year in new money with this deal - a contract with a fairly standard structure to it. Drastically lower base salaries in 2014-15 are offset by $9.5M roster bonuses that guarantee on the 1st day of each league year; a mechanism similar to "offsets" being added to rookie contracts. From there, maximum salaries, and standard workout and roster bonuses make up each remaining year of this contract. The extension is win win for both the Packers and Rodgers, and falls right in line with our forecast produced back in March.

Just 29 years old, Rodgers has the chance to make $62.5M by the age of 32 with this deal.

Terms Average Signing Bonus Guaranteed
7 yr / $119,500,000 $17,071,429 $25,000,000 $40,000,000

View the entire Romo ContractRomo's contract is a perfect example of "everything happens in the first three years", as he'll make $57M from 2013-15, $40M of which is fully guaranteed.

But in 2016 the Cowboys clearly built in an "out", dropping the base salary from $17M to $8.5M with a cap hit of $15.1M. Romo will be 36 in 2016, so it's safe to say this contract might not see it's end.

His $17.1M average salary ranks #6 among active quarterbacks.

Terms Average Signing Bonus Guaranteed
5 yr / $70,600,000 $14,120,000 $30,000,000 $33,000,000

View the entire Brady contract At age 35 the Patriots know they're playing with fire in terms of drawn out new money with their Hall of Fame QB. But a string of recent restructures (and bad contracts) forced this extension to accumulate cap space in 2013. Like Romo's structure this deal has an "out" in 2015, when all the accelerated "dead" money from previous restructures clear. Brady's base salaries (1,2,7,8,9) are considerably lower than the other quarterbacks listed here.

Were he to be cut in 2015, he'll have taken away $40M and leave $18M in dead money.

Terms Average Signing Bonus Guaranteed
6 yr / $120,600,000 $20,100,000 $29,000,000 $29,000,000

View the entire Flacco contract The reward for winning was huge this offseason for Flacco, who at the time signed the highest average deal in the league. But in truth this deal has plenty of "obstacles" to overcome, as evident by just $29M in true guarantees. From 2013-15 Flacco's base salaries total $11M. Baltimore holds a $15M option bonus in 2014, and a $7M option bonus in 2015 as potential "outs".

Should he make it , the deal gets wild in 2016, when the cap jumps from $14.55 to $28.55M, with a $25.85M dead figure to go along with it.

Terms Average Signing Bonus Guaranteed
6 yr / $113,750,000 $18,958,333 $28,000,000 $42,000,000

View the entire Ryan contract The Falcons wasted little time in extending their franchise play-caller, with a MUCH more aggressive (and standard) contract. Ryan's 6 year deal includes base salaries that increase slightly each season, a market-competitive signing bonus, and an option bonus in the 2nd year. With just $2M carried over from the previous contract, this is a model framework for a confident, maximum extension. Ryan will earn $63M over the first three years of the deal.

His $18.86M average salary ranks #4 in the entire NFL.

Terms Average Signing Bonus Guaranteed
5 yr / $76,500,000 $15,300,000 $27,500,000 $33,500,000

View the entire Stafford contractThis was a "restructure"-driven extension, as back-to-back restructures in 2011/2012 had Stafford's 2013 cap figure north of $20M. The result is $6.5M in cap savings over 2013-14. That being said, $18.8M in accelerated money carries over to the new extension, forcing every cap figure from 2013-2017 over $15 million. He'll earn $43M over 3 years, after which the guarantees and dead money drop off.

Drafted prior to the rookie wage scale, Stafford has already earned $105M in his 4+ year career.

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