The NFL's QB bubble
In today's NFL, Chicago Bears QB Andy Dalton is considered the yardstick for a backup QB, which borders on the absurd.
The QB position is getting deeper and star quarterbacks are becoming more expendable. Entering the early 2000s, a group of kids didn't know it at the time, but their dreams and drive would crush the RB pay market.
NFL franchises soon started asking themselves, what's the point of paying an NFL running back top dollar if serviceable, cheap backups are the fish in the sea?
One day soon, the entire NFL will be the NFC West. A group of kids born after 1995 have over specialized at the QB position. The position could soon become over saturated.
The elite, top-tier QB remains rare, but it's absurd how many serviceable NFL quarterbacks are available right now. Throwing above 60% with no turnovers has become the standard when it was once an achievement.
NFL QB's keep getting better
It's easier now, more than ever, for a front office to fall head over heels for a QB prospect. Just take a look at the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs. The love affair between front offices and college QB prospects has displaced established NFL QBs like Jimmy Garappolo and Kirk Cousins as guaranteed starters, week in, week out.
The Green Bay Packers are having a staredown with maybe the position's greatest talent. When was the QB position ever on such shaky ground? They were meant to be the exception to the rule, but they are being shuffled around like running backs.
NFL QBs and their quest for job security
Sam Darnold is the future for many of these star college QBs who fail at the NFL level early. Three years of uninspiring tape did not influence Joe Brady in any way. Your profile matters more than ever.
Trey Lance attempted 318 passes in his college career, while Jimmy Garappolo completed 329 passes the year the 49ers went to the Super Bowl. Lance fits the profile for Kyle Shanahan's ideal QB better than Jimmy G, and that's the only reason Lance is a 49er. Jimmy G is a proven QB and is fairly accurate right now, unlike Lance, but that doesn't matter. Jimmy G doesn't fit the profile anymore.
What happens when Trey Lance ends up being merely a good QB when fans were promised a multiple-MVP quarterback? Will they ask for Kyle Shanahan's ouster and go look for another project?
The college pipeline keeps producing and teams are more confident than ever in letting guys go as franchise QBs fall out of the sky in the first round.
The NFL's Josh Allen dilemma
Josh Allen is a tremendous story, yet he is the telling sign. The Buffalo Bills built themselves a franchise QB. Is that now just an option for NFL teams? You can just make an MVP candidate out of a raw QB with the right physical profile. This type of development path happens with D-Line men and linebackers but it was never the case with QBs.
This does more harm than good, though. In two years, will Justin Fields and Trey Lance be MVP candidates like Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes?
Is the QB position still a hallowed and precious thing if an elite talent emerges every two years. Take Trevor Lawrence, for instance, whom the media hailed in college. Lawrence was labled a "once in a lifetime" prospect, but while all this hype was happening, Justin Herbert quietly emerged in the background.
If you are an NFL front office you can't lose right now. Missed out on a Mahomes-level prospect? Just draft another one in three years.
The NFL QB/RB mirror
The running back position is the clean mirror in this case. The 2,000-yard marker still acts as a separation of the elite. In the past, running backs inspired a generation of absurd talent for whom a 1,000-yard campaign is now considered underwhelming because so many players can reach the top of that mountain.
The QB position is the same; a difference-maker is rare, but a 4,000-yard passer who does not turn the ball over? There are plenty of those, and college football is continuously pumping them out.
The NFL as a business probably loves the over-saturation of the sport's most important position as it'll lead to plenty of high-scoring games. The QBs, however, will experience a massive drop one day in what they can command in the open market as the quality of a backup QB keeps getting better.
A QB like Mahomes will always be worth the payday, but not every QB getting paid at that level is an elite athlete. Why would the Seahawks and coach Pete Carroll continue to walk on ice with Russell Wilson when a project Josh Allen can start right away? How long can Derek Carr hold onto his job before Jon Gruden goes the way of other West Coast playcallers?
What happens to Derek Carr after the Raiders release him? Does he just bounce around earning $20m to $30m a year? Why pay Baker Mayfield $40m+ in that case?
Mahomes-tier QBs won't feel the pinch, but the rest will, as QBs continue to improve. Mahomes' contract was once seen as the break the position group needed in terms of the payday it commanded, but it will soon be the ceiling.
The NFL's QB situation will soon be one of three things; you either pay a rookie nothing, get a proven vet on the cheap, or pay an elite guy everything. In this financial landscape, why pay Baker Mayfield when QBs like Jimmy G and Kirk Cousins could be available the very next off-season?
Why pay any non-elite QB when quality backups are available on the cheap? Why stick with an underwhelming starter when you can kickstart a project like Josh Allen at any moment?