If you have read Tom E. Curran’s newest column, You know the New England Patriots will be cheap at quarterback by 2020.
Forget Aaron Rodgers, Andy Dalton or Cam Newton. The Patriots roll around with Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer and two unregistered free agents, allocating only 1.5 percent of their current salary (30 in the NFL) In the most important position in sports.
So is this a smart business … or a signal that Bill Belichick and Co. flying the white flag in their first season in the post-Tom Brady era?
To ask that question in another way: Can the NFL team win without spending a fortune on QB?
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The short answer is a strict YES. Look at the last seven Super Bowl winners and where they rank that season in spending positions on quarterback, according to OverTheCap.com:
2019 Kansas City Chief (Patrick Mahomes): 24th in the NFL
2018 Patriots (Tom Brady): 13th
Philadelphia Eagles 2017 (Carson Wentz, Nick Foles): 26
Patriots 2016 (Tom Brady): 18th
Denver Broncos 2015 (Peyton Manning): 7
2014 Patriots (Tom Brady): 13th
Seattle Seahawks 2013 (Russell Wilson): 30
Since OverTheCap started tracking positional expenses, 2015 Broncos is the only team to win the Super Bowl while finishing in the top 10 QB expenditures. Three clubs won it all by leaning on young QB who were still in their rookie agreement (Wilson, Wentz and Mahomes), while Brady took several salary cuts to help Patriot win three Super Bowl titles.
Even Manning did not make the highest dollar in 2015, with a total salary of $ 19 million. In fact, no team has it ever win the Super Bowl while paying their initial QB north of $ 20 million.
That doesn’t bode well for 17 clubs (including Brady’s Buccaneers) spending $ 20 million or more on their quarterbacks by 2020.
But we might need to change our question. No one expects the Patriots to compete for the Super Bowl in 2020, and some believe they will totally missed the playoffs.
Are they right? How are the NFL teams at the bottom of the barrel spending quarterbacks in recent years?
Below are all the teams that have reached the playoffs (by how far they have advanced in parentheses) despite finishing in the bottom five in the NFL in QB spending, per OverTheCap:
2019: Baltimore Ravens (14-2; Division Rounds) and Buffalo Bill (10-6; Wild Card Round)
2018: Kansas City Chief (12-4; AFC Championship Game); Dallas Cowboys (10-6; Division Rounds) and Houston Texans (11-5; Wild Card Round)
2016: Oakland Raiders (12-4; Wild Card Round)
2014: Seattle Seahawks (12-4; loss of the Super Bowl)
2013: Seattle Seahawks (13-3; Super Bowl champions); San Francisco 49ers (12-4; NFC Championship Games) and Cincinnati Bengals (11-5; Wild Card Round)
A total of 10 teams cut costs in QB have reached the playoffs in the past seven years. Four of the teams reached their conference championship match, while the Seahawks won the Super Bowl in 2013 with Wilson in his rookie contract.
Of course, almost all of these clubs are led by high profile QB in their beginner agreement. Stidham is clearly not Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Dak Prescott, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen or even Derek Carr.
But there are two main takeaways here that should be a lesson for Patriots fans: 1) Big shopping at QB is not always the same as winning; 2) Saving in a QB position to allocate money elsewhere can equate victory.
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