The NFL quarterback is well compensated for his work. Even the C-quarterbacks can sign contracts worth $18 million a year, like Sam Bradford and Brock Osweiler has cashed in on this offseason. Some could say a situation where a quarterback is making $20 million in a 16-game season, which ten quarterbacks will make in 2016, is an absurd number. You have your protesters who believe a McDonald’s cook should make fifteen bucks an hour, but a high school senior is not under the same amount of pressure as the typical NFL starting quarterback is, who receives worldwide scrutiny for every “not so perfect” pass he makes.
So while the quarterback is, in some eyes, overpaid, they also have to deal with the media, the unappreciative fans, and outperforming any of their backups who would give their left arm (their right if they throw with their left) to start for an NFL team.
There’s been plenty of NFL greats who have come off the bench, whether it be for injury or performance issues, and took the league by storm. As a matter of fact, both Tom Brady and Tony Romo, two future Hall of Famers in their own right, put Drew Bledsoe on the bench and are still playing to this day. So it makes you wonder, who is next to have this unfortunate fate? I discover some potential names who will lose one of the most prestigious titles in all America, so prestigious that only 32 men can claim.
Ryan Tannehill was drafted by the Miami Dolphins back in 2012, the same class of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Miami, in desperate need of a quarterback, took Tannehill at 8 while passing up on guys who went shortly after, Luke Kuechly, Dontari Poe, and Fletcher Cox, three men who have all made the Pro Bowl since entering the league, something Tannehill has failed yet to do. Tannehill will be paid just less of $19 million in 2016, the twelfth-most of all quarterbacks, and he’s yet to lead his team to a winning season in four attempts.
Recently, the wife of ex-Dolphin Brent Grimes, Miko, said the Dolphins receivers wanted Ryan Tannehill benched last season, but you can’t trust what that woman says, so take it from me, a supporter of Tannehill since coming out of Texas A&M. Tannehill must make extensive progress with the Dolphins this season, his fifth league year, or he might just be on his way out. He’s going to be on his third coach, and Adam Gase needs to be sold on Tannehill. Adam Gase is said to be a quarterback whisperer, so if Tannehill bombs this year, Gase and Miami will be searching for the next Dan Marino, and not the next Ryan Tannehill.
Sam Bradford, former #1 overall pick by the Rams, was traded away to Philadelphia last offseason, apart of Chip Kelly’s antics. The Eagles ended up giving away Nick Foles, who had a Pro Bowl year with the team the season before. Bradford, like the storybook of his entire career, had issues staying healthy, and ended up missing a couple of games in 2015. However, Bradford played an okay year, and despite Chip Kelly getting fired and most of his pieces being traded away this offseason, the team and new head coach Doug Pederson elected to re-sign Bradford, keeping him an Eagle for the next two seasons.
I believe Bradford’s job isn’t as safe as the extension indicates, considering they signed Chase Daniel to a three-year deal after Bradford. I think the Eagles are going to be evaluating Bradford’s performance on the field, and if he performs poorly or gets injured once more, the team will look to Chase Daniel, a familiar face to Pederson’s Kansas City roots, and signals the end perhaps for Bradford in Philadelphia. Bradford’s deal also is not outrageous enough that another team would be spooked out of acquiring it via trade next offseason, and if a two year experiment with Bradford doesn’t work out, they have Daniel contracted for another year. The writing is on the wall if Bradford can’t show why he was ever taken with the first pick to begin with.
But Brock Osweiler was just signed to a 4-year deal with the Texans? But their backup is Brian Hoyer? This makes no sense!! … Or does it? Matt Flynn, which more recent Seahawk fans wouldn’t know, had two career starts with the Packers before being signed by Seattle in 2012 for a starting quarterback salary. 2012 was also the same year that Russell Wilson was drafted in the third round. Wilson would outperform Flynn in preseason, and Flynn would fail to ever start a game for the Seahawks, and has been contracted by six teams since, while Russell Wilson has won seven playoff games in that amount of time.
Brock Osweiler is just as unproven as Matt Flynn was, though Osweiler had bright flashes for the Broncos last season, and Denver might not even win the Super Bowl if it wasn’t for Osweiler’s regular season execution, the Houston Texans still need to hold an open quarterback competition to see who can lead this team into a deeper playoff run. Houston has BJ Daniels, Brian Hoyer, and Tom Savage under contract as well, and maybe Savage emerges as the starter. I can see Houston drafting a quarterback on Day 3 of the draft, however, and that guy having a chance to be the starting quarterback of the Houston Texans. It’s possible.
Matthew Stafford is another high draft pick, selected #1 overall after Detroit’s inglorious 0-16 season landed them the top pick, and Stafford, along with the Lions, has had a rocky few seasons since 2009. Stafford perhaps had one of the better seasons for himself last year, but that was throwing to Calvin Johnson. I can only imagine losing his go-to guy will show an overwhelming decline in Stafford’s play. Despite Matthew Stafford making over 17 million next year, it’s not out of the ordinary for him to lose his job in the next 12 months, considering Colin Kaepernick, who banks 19 million, was benched last season in favor of Blaine Gabbert.
The Detroit Lions only have Dan Orlovsky on the roster backing up Stafford, and without pursuing anyone in the free agency pool, the Lions likely draft a quarterback on Day 2 or 3. It wouldn’t be the craziest headline if in a poor year, Stafford’s benched in Kaepernick fashion.
That is an eighth of the jobs that could be lost in the coming year, whether it comes in the form of a benching mid-season or a team found in starvation of a quarterback next offseason. If you disagree with any of these, let me know, along with any other quarterbacks who are on the hot seat entering 2016.