Rant of the week: The Great Cost of Good
Andy Dalton is a decent quarterback capable of putting up big numbers. He has led the Bengals to three playoff appearances. Now the Bengals young quarterback has just received a $96 million contract. It sounds like the football equivalent of a fairy tale; of course there is a catch.
Dalton is 0-3 in the playoffs. In playoff games he has thrown 1 touchdown and 6 interceptions. Have the Bengals committed to Andy Dalton as their franchise quarterback? Here is a better question; is this the cost of a decent quarterback in the National Football League?
The masses cried a horrible cry when Joe Flacco got a 120.6 million 6 year contract from the Ravens. Flacco of course was a Super Bowl MVP and has won more road playoff games than any other quarterback in NFL history. It was a hefty price but it matched an equally impressive resume. The contract is actually well constructed for both the Ravens and Flacco. Its not like a truck shows up at his home and dumps 120.6 million dollars in his drive way.
The Dalton deal is not really all that shocking. The Bengals can get out of it in two years, there is not a ton of guaranteed money. Dalton has done enough in the regular season to earn a hefty contract; we can’t forget that the Bengals went 4-12 the year before he got there. $96 million no matter how it is sliced and promised is a large commitment. That is the absurd cost of a good quarterback in the NFL.
Yes everybody, what used to be an unthinkably large contract for even great players is now what we give good quarterbacks. It makes sense. There are 32 teams but there are not 32 good quarterbacks. There are even fewer great quarterbacks. Without a good quarterback in today’s NFL you are essentially a gun with out bullets. Its simple supply and demand.
Here is my problem. This sets a very scary precedent. Teams are committing to mega deals with quarterbacks that have not achieved the most important statistic. The only thing that matters, when you boil everything down, is playoff performance. You can give me all the touchdowns, passing yards, passer ratings and completion percentages you want. Feeling confident in your quarterback in the final moments of a playoff game that is priceless. Thats what should earn the mega contracts (that are shaped in a cap friendly way).
Basically what the Bengals did was say: we don’t want to find another quarterback so we’re going to pay him a lot of money. It is so hard to find a great quarterback that teams settle for good enough. I am not tearing down Dalton. He is better than average he just is not great. I just want to know this, when does he actually need to accomplish something?