2015 NFL Player Values: Quarterback

Since every team is at least a quarter of the way through the season I wanted to begin looking at each position week by week to see how their on the field performance translates into salary at the position. The valuations are based on a few categories of statistics, player usage, efficiency and participation which is compared with historical data and current market values to come up with a salary estimate for each position. Values are based on a player keeping his current per game numbers over a full 16 game season. Today we will look at the quarterback position and see where each player ranks.The first thing that will probably stand out when looking at the numbers here is how many players have big numbers. The reason for that is because of the recent spending sprees on quarterbacks which basically has moved the entire market to the point where most non rookies are earning over $18 million a season.  So in general a starting quarterback is worth a lot of money compared to other positions.

The current top ranked quarterback is Tom Brady, who is having a tremendous season for the Patriots. If he were to keep up his current pace he would more or less blow away any season in recent memory. I have him valued at nearly $26 million, which is well above the current market maximum. Andy Dalton ranks second at just under $23 million based on his five game stretch, which has been terrific. His recent run has certainly quieted the criticism that he hould be replaced because of the lack of upside. Filling out the top 3 is Carson Palmer who looks like he did back in the mid 2000’s when he looked like he was going to be a big superstar.

The name I found most interesting was Blake Bortles, who came in 7th at $20.4 million. The Jaguars are a terrible team, but he has very quietly put together a really good start to his season, a major improvement over his rookie year which was abysmal. Tyrod Taylor of the Bills is playing at a $19.5 million level, which actually makes him the biggest bargain in the NFL when you compare his value to his cap charge. He has struggled more the last two weeks and is now injured so we’ll have to see if the value persists.

Peyton Manning’s stock has dropped tremendously this season. I have him coming in t $11.4 million, which is in between rookie Jameis Winston and journeyman Brian Hoyer. Manning’s numbers, specifically on a per chance basis, are way down and for this season he has been no different than any other stopgap starter.

Of player’s who have not missed games due to injury the worst value is currently Matt Stafford of the Lions. Stafford has a cap charge of $17.7 million but a valuation of just $9.3 million.

2015 QB Salary Valuation, Thru Week 5

RankNameTeam2015 ValueActual Cap ChargeDifference
1Tom BradyPatriots$25,753,781$14,000,000$11,753,781
2Andy DaltonBengals$22,888,870$9,600,000$13,288,870
3Carson PalmerCardinals$21,958,620$7,375,000$14,583,620
4Eli ManningGiants$21,137,649$14,450,000$6,687,649
5Philip RiversChargers$20,955,188$21,166,668-$211,480
6Aaron RodgersPackers$20,820,738$18,250,000$2,570,738
7Blake BortlesJaguars$20,463,179$4,694,273$15,768,906
8Matt RyanFalcons$20,247,846$19,500,000$747,846
9Alex SmithChiefs$19,742,366$15,600,000$4,142,366
10Tyrod TaylorBills$19,517,098$883,333$18,633,765
11Marcus MariotaTitans$19,424,258$4,402,541$15,021,717
12Russell WilsonSeahawks$19,052,309$7,054,868$11,997,441
13Josh McCownBrowns$18,161,545$3,916,666$14,244,879
14Drew BreesSaints$18,121,185$23,800,000-$5,678,815
15Derek CarrRaiders$17,987,638$1,220,864$16,766,774
16Cam NewtonPanthers$16,257,084$13,000,000$3,257,084
17Ryan TannehillDolphins$14,323,596$4,873,364$9,450,232
18Ben RoethlisbergerSteelers$13,867,781$17,245,000-$3,377,219
19Sam BradfordEagles$13,782,683$12,985,000$797,683
20Joe FlaccoRavens$13,389,189$14,550,000-$1,160,811
21Colin Kaepernick49ers$12,304,073$15,265,753-$2,961,680
22Kirk CousinsRedskins$12,074,692$778,172$11,296,520
23Ryan FitzpatrickJets$11,911,259$3,250,000$8,661,259
24Jameis WinstonBuccaneers$11,516,716$4,609,323$6,907,393
25Peyton ManningBroncos$11,394,099$17,500,000-$6,105,901
26Brian HoyerTexans$10,257,625$5,218,750$5,038,875
27Matt StaffordLions$9,332,603$17,721,250-$8,388,647
28Brandon WeedenCowboys$8,906,175$660,000$8,246,175
29Teddy BridgewaterVikings$7,416,933$1,556,705$5,860,228
30Jay CutlerBears$7,334,844$16,500,000-$9,165,156
31Nick FolesRams$5,675,149$4,042,000$1,633,149
32Ryan MallettTexans$4,880,099$3,187,500$1,692,599
33Andrew LuckColts$4,731,874$7,034,363-$2,302,489
34Matt HasselbeckColts$4,135,640$3,000,000$1,135,640
35Tony RomoCowboys$3,703,447$14,973,000-$11,269,553
36Michael VickSteelers$3,299,382$585,000$2,714,382
37Johnny ManzielBrowns$2,770,653$1,874,681$895,972
38Luke McCownSaints$2,540,060$665,000$1,875,060
39Dan OrlovskyLions$2,231,523$665,000$1,566,523
40Jimmy ClausenBears$2,214,464$1,125,000$1,089,464
41Matthew McGloinRaiders$2,022,261$585,000$1,437,261
42Kellen ClemensChargers$1,763,162$1,822,500-$59,338
43Drew StantonCardinals$1,698,006$3,866,668-$2,168,662
  • Jim

    If you take the sum of the “difference” column, you come up with an overwhelmingly positive number. This would indicate, that as a whole, you think QB’s are underpaid (rather significantly). Is this an assertion you are trying to make with this chart? By my calculations, 22 out of 28 non-injured, defacto starting QB’s are underpaid. And the position as a whole, those 28 QB’s underpaid by an average of about $5.1m/yr.

    Or is this for comparative use only?

    • I would just say more for compartive use since Im not including players who have not played. For example is there a benefit to paying a backup $5 million a year as an insurance policy? That player essentialy brings a team no production on Sunday just like any of the inactive guys for the week.

      Thats one of the things that makes the QB position a little different than the other positions. You have a large group of players who dont play a snap in a season that earn $3-5 million a season. So that boosts the value tremendously of those who do play. But if we factored them in as bringing minimal value (i.e. their jobs can be replaced with someone earning $525K per year- the average salary of a UDFA) things would balance out to 0 or probably below.