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A look at where the projected starting quarterbacks for the 2021 season fall in terms of their current contract status, from "Locked in" to "On their way" to "Who Knows?"

Burning a Hole in Their Pockets

Lamar Jackson, BAL
Recent deals for Dak, Deshaun, & now Josh have all positively impacted Lamar Jackson’s valuation, which now sits at a healthy $44.5M. He projects to a 6 year, $267M extension.

Baker Mayfield, CLE
According to our algorithm, Baker qualifies more inline with Carson Wentz & Jared Goff than he does Deshaun Watson/Josh Allen. For now that means a valuation just north of $35M. Will the Browns overpay a year early, anticipating another big season out of he and the team, or will the wait continue into 2022.


On Their Way to a Pay Day

Kyler Murray, ARZ
The #1 overall in 2019 is entering year #3, meaning he’ll be extension eligible after the season. Arizona has added significant pieces on both side of the ball over the past year, putting him in a great position to take a big step forward in 2021. He’s off to a good start holding a $39M valuation, projecting toward a 6 year, $234M extension.

Derek Carr, LV
The Raiders have had plenty of time to move on from Carr over the past few seasons, but he’s played himself out of that thought process, and into serious extension consideration. Yes, the potential for Rodgers or Wilson could still exist in 2022, but another above average year from Carr, and a little more winning from the Raiders, should seal another contract for the two sides in the coming months. Now 30, Carr should be inline for a cap-adjusted version of Ryan Tannehill’s recent deal with the Titans.

Matthew Stafford, LAR
There aren’t many experts out there who don’t see the Matt Stafford/Rams marriage working immediately. If things go as planned, Les Snead will be ripping up the final year of Stafford’s contract and locking him in for the long-term. Mahomes’ $45M will be in jeopardy with this one.

Jameis Winston/Taysom Hill, NO
he closer we get to Week 1, the more questions that seem to be coming out from the Saints. Regardless, both of these players are on 1-year deals, so if either grab the reigns and produce, there will be dollar signs in their future (potentially a franchise tag).

Russell Wilson, SEA
Unsurprisingly, Wilson went nowhere this offseason, though there’s still plenty of contractual turmoil in Seahawksland. That attention could turn to the QB1 next March when the 32 year old will have two years left on his contract, none of it guaranteed. A nice extension to bring Russ back up to the current market without breaking the bank? Not so fast. Wilson holds a $46.4M valuation in our system currently.


Needs a Big Year

Sam Darnold, CAR
There are plenty who believe a little less Jets and a little more anywhere else will be the recipe to get Darnold’s career off the ground and running. With his $19M option for 2022 already locked in, a strong 2021 campaign could push the Panthers to think a little more long term. For now, it remains highly unlikely.

Drew Lock, DEN
With Teddy Bridgewater now in the mix, and Aaron Rodgers looming in 2022, Lock may not even find the field in his third year, let alone be eyeing an extension.

Daniel Jones, NYG
Jones is well behind the pack of recently signed QBs in terms of all major statistical production, but a year of winning in NY can change that narrative pretty quickly. For now, he’s on a Jameis Winston, Mitchell Trubisky path.

Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
Kind of weird to put a franchise legend in this category, but Ben’s spot on the Steelers was largely in question heading into 2021, and remains that way despite a 1 year, $14M restructured contract to stick around. A big year could mean another small payday and a continuation of this relationship.


Playing for His Next Team?

Matt Ryan, ATL
This isn’t a sure thing. Ryan’s current contractual mess secured his spot in 2021, but Atlanta did a lot of roster management on the offensive side of the ball that could really benefit his ability to produce, and win this season. Ryan is 36, so there likely aren’t massive dollar signs in his future, but a move to a new team, and a slight restructure could very well be in the cards come 2022.

Aaron Rodgers, GB
I don’t think an explanation is necessary here, but it’s almost certain that Rodgers is one more and done with the Packers. A trade out of town will mean a new contract, and based on what we’ve seen from Rodgers the past few times, there won’t be any discounts involved. It’s tough to imagine a 37 year old garnering $50M per year, but I’m not counting it out.

Kirk Cousins, MIN
Cousins could have fit in a lot of these tiers, but I’ll play a little crystal ball here and say that Kirk could be on the outside looking in after 2021. His $35M salary for 2022 is fully guaranteed, so releasing him won’t be an option, but finding a trade partner could be very much in play.

Jimmy Garoppolo, SF
All signs point to Jimmy G getting the Week 1 start and then some, so it appears his $25M+ of compensation will lock in shortly. He’ll likely be a trade deadline candidate, and once past that point, the leader of the 2022 roster bubble list. SF can free up $25.6M of cap in 2022 by moving on in any fashion.


Good For Now

Josh Allen, BUF
The latest mega-extension comes out of Buffalo, who locked in Allen to $284M over the next 8 years, with $164M over the next 5 extremely likely. Allen’s job now is to repay the franchise with its first ever Super Bowl.

Dak Prescott, DAL
Well it certainly wasn’t the traditional route, but the Cowboys and Dak finally got to a multi-year extension, and it’s a doozy for Prescott, who gets $126M fully guaranteed over the next 3 seasons. A healthy Dallas is a legit contender for the NFC East in 2021.

Deshaun Watson, HOU
Contractually speaking only, Watson’s extension has barely kicked in. If he’s traded after the 2021 season, he’ll still have 4 years, $136M left on the contract, two years fully guaranteed. Obviously we know less about his future than anyone here though. Elsewhere in Houston, likely Week 1 starter Tyrod Taylor is on a 1 yr, $5.5M contract and has an outside chance of winning the gig for a few years should Watson be traded away.

Patrick Mahomes, KC
Mahomes has 11 years, $466M remaining on his contract, and almost every salary/bonus guarantees at least 1 year early. He’s a Chief until he decides he doesn’t want to be.

Tom Brady, TB
A restructure + void years put $51M+ of cash in Brady’s hands over the next two seasons, with cap hits of just $10.5M, & $17M respectively. There shouldn’t be a need for another restructure after 2021, even if he wins the whole thing again.

Ryan Tannehill, TEN
Tannehill is fully guaranteed through the 2022 season now, so he’ll have time to get acclimated with Julio Jones and attempt to bring the Titans back into AFC contention. There’s plenty of cap to be saved in 2023 if things don’t go as planned.



Joe Burrow, CIN
After a first year lost to injury, year two will likely be about slowly rebuilding Burrow both physically and mentally with a young roster that could really be something in a year or two. This situation seems a year away from being something to really watch out for - perfect timing for his next payday.

Trevor Lawrence, JAC
The #1 overall pick should get the keys to the team in Week 1, but that has yet to be confirmed. The Jags have done a nice job of readying their ship for this draft selection, so Lawrence’s change to succeed out of the gate should be strong. We could be 3 years away from another historic QB extension in his regard.

Justin Herbert, LAC
Herbert might be the #1 QB to watch this season, as he showed signs of legitimate elite stuff over the course of 2020. The Chargers have two more years of control before he becomes extension eligible, so the window to add expensive pieces is now.

Tua Tagovailoa, MIA
Tua needs a big year, not only for the obvious reasons, but notably because the Deshaun Watson rumors don’t appear to be going away. He’s still two seasons from being extension eligible, so he’s locked in financially at the moment ($9.9M fully guaranteed thru 2023), but there are more questions than answers with Miami’s QB position right now.

Zach Wilson, NYJ
To say it’s been a rocky start is probably an understatement. Still, I keep finding a lot of smart people projecting this situation to work out very well at the end of the day. It may not look great in 2021, but there’s a chance the Jets figure this thing out in the next 2-3 years.

Jalen Hurts, PHI
Wentz, out Hurts in, Hurts out, Watson in? The Eagles could really love Jalen Hurts, or could be dying to replace him right now. We’ll find out in a few weeks when a young Philly offense takes the field in real action. Hurts won’t be extension eligible until after 2022, and his rookie contract guarantees fall off after this season.


Who Knows?

Andy Dalton, CHI
The Bears have been calling him the QB1 for 6 months now, but I’m still not buying it. Justin Fields fell into their lap, and has the kind of athleticism to play in the NFL right now. Dalton is a top-level backup QB at this stage of his career, and could be one of those guys that sticks around on solid pay for the next 5 years.

Jared Goff, DET
Goff has a $15.5M roster bonus in 2022 that’s already fully guaranteed, but if things go poorly in 2021 (and they very well might), this could be a 1 and done situation.

Carson Wentz, IND
A brutal exit in Philly combined with an injury to start his Colts career has the Wentz situation in real question. Indy will likely roll with youth to get this season going, but Wentz will get a chance to secure this spot at some point. This team is ready to win now, so if Carson doesn’t appear to be the answer, look for another QB change in 2022, despite the $20M fully guaranteed next season.

Cam Newton, NE
It sure would be nice to get a few more years of the old Cam Newton back, but the odds appear stacked against that happening. It seems more plausible that Mac Jones takes the reins sooner rather than later, pushing Newton into a steady backup role, not unlike the one Andy Dalton is headed for.

Ryan Fitzpatrick/Taylor Heinicke, WAS
All signs point to FitzMagic getting the Week 1 nod, but it’s perfectly possible that Taylor Heinicke wins the job out of the camp. Fitzpatrick has $6M guaranteed on a 1 year contract, while Heinicke locked in $1.5M on a 2 year deal. It’ll take a big year from the latter to keep the WFT from strongly considered finding a new franchise QB next March.