The big names at quarterback weren't in this year's draft but that isn't stopping teams from going with rookies to start at the most glorified and scrutinized position in the game. In the last couple days the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills have decided to go with rookies Geno Smith and EJ Manuel to lead their respective teams. Since the NFL got a new CBA deal done in 2011, fourteen of the starting NFL quarterbacks have been drafted since then (Terrelle Pryor was a supplemental pick in 2011). A big reason for this outside of the guys having talent (or no one better to go with) is they are cheap compared to the days where number 1 picks would get up to $50 million in guaranteed money before stepping on the field. JaMarcus Russell and his vomit induced performances are still crippling the Oakland Raiders. Those days however are gone.
Including Manuel and Smith the other twelve starting under center who have been drafted since 2011 are all making less than $2.5 million for their 2013 base salary. Manuel and Smith are starting because of injuries to Kevin Kolb and Mark Sanchez but if they play well enough don't expect either to come off the field. Kolb is done for the year but Sanchez has been one of the most horrid QB's in the game. Sanchez is making over $8 million this year but if Smith shows something the Jets could take the hit and send the Sanchize walking.
Look at Colin Kaepernick last year. Alex Smith gets hurt, Kaepernick proved he could play and is cheaper. He stuck, Smith is in Kansas City. These guys are proving teams should go with the young arm instead of dipping into the veteran pool where the guy might be good enough to hold a clipboard. Plus, under the new CBA rookies cannot renegotiate new contracts until after their third season allowing teams to spend money elsewhere.
If the young guy can't cut it, well teams aren't crippled salary cap wise like pre-2011 and can do the experiment all over again. Football is a young man's game and youth is being served.
List of QB's making under $2.5 in base salary. Five of these guys have started at least one playoff game.
1. Geno Smith-$405,000
2. EJ Manuel- $450,000
3. Robert Griffin lll- $1.4 million
4. Andrew Luck- $1.4 million
5. Russell Wilson- $526,000
6. Ryan Tannehill- $480,000
7. Brandon Weeden- $757,000
8. Cam Newton- $2.3 million
9. Jake Locker- $1.5 million
10. Blaine Gabbert- $1.5 million
11. Christian Ponder- $1.3 million
12. Andy Dalton- $749,000
13. Colin Kaepernick- $749,000
14. Terrelle Pryor- $595,000