New Contract Tracker: Quarterbacks and Interior DL

Sometimes you’ll hear a song for the first time, get caught up in the rhythm, and end up surprised that you find it catchy. So you look forward to hearing it again, telling people how much you like the song and enjoy how it makes you feel when you hear it.


Then, after a while, the positive vibes begin to erode and you begin to notice that it isn’t actually a lyrically well-written tune. The once-catchy beat begins to assault your ear canal when you realize there’s not much substance to it and ultimately you become quickly irritated at the mere thought of having to listen to that song anymore. You delete it from your memory and hope no one remembers how much you gushed over it the year prior.

This is the audio equivalent of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s tenure with the Jets.  He is “Blurred Lines” in human form.

Once again, though it ended with a dud in Arizona, the collective play of our group of quarterbacks was good in week 6. They completed passes at a 65% clip for 283 yds per man, with a solid 18:6 TD/INT ratio. Since we’ve been tracking these stats since week 3, it represents the highest average yardage and the best TD/INT ratio of 3:1.

Updated season stats now look like this:

wk6qb2

WEEK 6 HERO: Brady or Brees. Brees or Brady. Both were incredible on Sunday. While the Tom Brady Revenge Tour continues its rampage across the mainland, most recently leaving the Bengals quality defense shocked and awed, the nod this time goes to Drew Brees because of the circumstances he faces on a weekly basis.

Brees went 34/49 for 465 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT and needed every single bit of it to eek out a win against Carolina. In most cases, dropping 38 points on your opponents’ head would be plenty enough to win the game. Not in New Orleans. Though Brees was ‘on’ the entire game, he found himself tied late, having to put together another drive versus a desperate team that had just spent the entire game chasing and finally catching the Saints. Brees calmly looked Luke Kuechly and friends in the eyes and led his squad right down the field, putting them in position to kick a last-second field goal to win.

The weight of the entire Saints team is on Brees’ back every single week. On Sunday, he carried it to victory. But how long is the organization going to do this to the man before they truly take strides to ease that burden?

Are Saints fans ok with not using their quality running back nearly enough, even when ahead in games? With the defense perpetually ranking near the bottom of the league in points allowed? With winning roughly half the games? Is it blasphemous to critique Sean Payton for choosing such a lopsided pass/run ratio every single week?

More importantly, when does Drew Brees finally get tired of this formula?

WEEK 6 ZERO: Last season, Ryan Fitzpatrick and his magical beard took the Big Apple by storm. A torrent of 300-yard, multi-TD games by the Harvard Hobo made him the toast of the town. He entered unrestricted free agency coming off his most prolific season and put the Jets in a tough spot by simply not being Geno Smith or Bryce Petty.

His #1 WR, Brandon Marshall, publicly begged the team to re-sign the quarterback, but Jets brass initially resisted the salary demands of Fitz’s representatives. While they seemingly had no other realistic choice to make, the Jets knew Fitz was not a long-term answer at quarterback. Eventually, the quarterback relented on his demands for at least a 2-year deal and the team ponied up a guaranteed contract in the amount of $12M for 2016.

This is a classic example of an organization jumping with both feet into NFL quarterback purgatory.

In what most could see coming from miles away when the schedule came out and showed a six-game gauntlet the Jets were ceratinly going to have a hard time navigating at the beginning of the 2016 season, what we have now is a full-blown outbreak of panicking after Fitzpatrick was mercifully pulled from Monday night’s loss that dropped the team to 1-5.

Before getting the hook, Fitzpatrick was a horrid 16-of-31, 174 yds, 0 TD, 1 (red zone) INT. Predictably, Geno Smith was an unmitigated disaster in relief and now the team and its fans are left wondering what can be done to turn the fortunes of the organization around. It’s the worst kind of situation to be in- one where the current quarterback simply isn’t good enough and there doesn’t seem to be any help on the immediate horizon.

Unless, of course, Christian Hackenburg is the the most incorrectly scouted signal caller ever, he breaks free from witness protection and comes to the Jets’ rescue.  There seems to be less less hope in that than a unified Congress.

What is becoming indisputable, however, is that these mid-range quarterback contracts are not yielding results favorable to a team’s success. Whether it’s the $7.5M APY flyer on a porcelain-coated RGIII, the Brock Osweiler Chronicles or Ryan Fitzredzonepick just flat refusing to take care of the football, the answer at quarterback is NOT the mid-range investment made by teams in these types of players.

Though there are three paths to choose when it comes to the QB position, only two are proving viable if the goal is winning a championship. Either be fortunate enough to acquire a true franchise qb and prepare to carve out a large chuck of your salary cap for him or go cheap at the position and build the roster around the quarterback. Playing the middle is a losing bet nearly every time.

INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINE

The defensive line seems to have settled into a groove. The same guys that have been producing up to this point continue to do so, while the ones that have disappointed early are still in ruts.

wk6dl2

It was a light week again in terms of sacks and impact plays overall, but two men- Nick Fairley and Pat Sims- played very well on Sunday.

WEEK 6 HERO: Pat Sims has had a quietly productive season in Cincinnati and turned in quite a gem of a game on Sunday on a day where he got no help from his defensive mates. Sims had 3 tackles (1 solo), a sack and a hurry of Tom Brady as the only Bengals player to affect the quarterback in any way.

WEEK 6 ZERO: The Seahawks defense is once again playing well. In the spring they re-signed Ahtyba Rubin to a 3-year extension- after a surprisingly productive 2015 season- for $4M APY. On Sunday, Rubin had just 1 assist in barely marking up the stat sheet and while the team may not be asking him to much more than clog up the middle, more is expected from a player making $4M per year than the 2 impact plays he’s provided (2 hurries).

Further down the list, you can see Tony McDaniel is giving that team as much and more in the way of impact- for less than a fourth of the cost.

Justin is a contributor to Fansided’s Seattle-centric website EmeraldCitySwagger.com and a life-long Seahawks fan- which was a mostly harrowing experience growing up in Northeast Ohio. You can follow him for thoughts on salary cap information, butchered clock management and the NFL in general @OhioHawk4372.

  • Werner

    Comment one: Jason, seems you got yourself quite a roster of contributors assembled now after Bryce was lost in Free Agency
    Comment two: Seems indeed, that you either have a QB north of 15′ APY and being worth it or south of 5′ to really make quality alternative investments in a suffocating game changer defense. But, as we can see with Brees, Luck maybe Flacco, the high end money needs to be surrounded with a proper cast in OL, not only in Skill Positions and with some(!!) defensive balance to reach beyond 0.500 or single digit win ceiling.

    • Justin Floor

      The O-Line issues around the league seem to be reaching epidemic proportions, don’t they? You know it’s bad when Eric Fisher gets re-signed for $12M per. I think Seattle is the best example of this currently. They have a championship-worthy roster at every position except O-Line, it cost them dearly vs Carolina last year and it’s getting Russell Wilson maimed this year. You don’t have to have all Pro-Bowlers like Dallas does but you can’t have a handful of stiffs in there, either. Part of the fun of balancing a roster in the salary cap era, I guess.

  • hanskim2016

    One QB issue that still baffles me is how little risk taking there is by BAD teams with young QBs. I don’t understand the decision making process of putting in a Charlie Whitehurst or McCown, or Hoyer, etc. when you can lose just as badly while experimenting with a young, unproven QB? While I know that’s not the solution to every team’s situation, I feel that the rate of experimentation is sadly low. Obviously GMs/coaches trying to save their jobs is an issue – but what I don’t understand is why assure yourself failure with a proven terrible QB than take a chance with a young QB?

    And of all the people that experiment with a young and unproven QB and wins in spades is Jerry Jones, of all people.

    • Justin Floor

      I think you hit the nail on the head. In the “win NOW” era we’re residing, coaches and GM’s are petrified of sacrificing the present for the betterment of the future. While Whitehurst is nearly guaranteed to throw 2 picks per game, an unproven might throw 4. We as fans have the luxury of no-stress, long-term viewpoints of our favorite teams where pain now could lead to great gains later. Coaches and GM’s- for the most part- feel they can’t afford to lose too many games for fear of getting fired before things get better. It’s a fascinating thing to watch, isn’t it?