What exactly is the hurry? Or, in several cases, what was the hurry?
That would be my question to the teams that seem so eager to give out new contracts to their quarterbacks without a pressing need to do so.
Jay Cutler. Colin Kaepernick. Maybe even Andy Dalton and Alex Smith. The list is starting to get longer and longer.
Remember how much debate there was regarding the Browns giving Brian Hoyer a new contract? Or how much Mark Sanchez was going to make if he were to hit the market in free agency? That was about a month ago.
Things change quickly in the NFL and way too many teams think they need to make decisions before they actually have to make them. It's a trend that, based on the buyer's remorse currently taking place in Chicago may finally start to slow down.
Why are these teams so eager to dole out these new deals?
"It's a fear," former Green Bay Packers VP of Player Finance, Andrew Brandt, told me recently on my podcast, "Some of it is internal. Some of it is agent driven. The agent will say, 'If we don't have a deal by October, don't come talking to us about a new contract,' and you feel that pressure."
That fear has led to some poor decisions.
The Bears elected to give Cutler a seven-year, $120 million deal right after last season ended, even though he had injury issues and was outplayed by his backup, Josh McCown. Now, like a lot of these NFL contracts, much of that deal is funny money that the Bears can get out of, but Cutler's base salary the first three years is guaranteed for a total of $54 million. All he's given them in return for that investment is 24 turnovers through 14 games -- four more than any other quarterback in the league in that time span. He's fallen so far that, as Adam Schefter reports, the Bears are going to start Jimmy Clausen Sunday.
Why did they feel compelled to give Cutler that contract? The Bears could have franchised him for year two under new head coach Marc Trestman and make sure he was a good fit for the offense before committing cash. Instead, the Bears now have the rarest of rarities in the NFL: a contract that they can't get out of or get rid of. It's almost like Cutler is in the NBA or MLB. (Yes, it's true that they can cut Cutler by March 2015 and get out of some of that guaranteed money, but that isn't an appealing option either.)
The 49ers, on the other hand, were a little savvier with the deal they gave Kaepernick. If they elect to part ways after this year, they would take a decent cap hit, but at least they have an out. I'm still not sure why you would even elect to pay Kaepernick over $13M this season when you had him under contract right around $1.1M. Now they will need to try and restructure before his base salary becomes guaranteed this offseason. There's no certainty that Kaepernick will be willing to do that, meaning the 49ers would have to cut him and then they'd have nothing to show for it.
It's bad business. The 2014 season could have been the final piece of information for the contract puzzle for Cutler, Kaepernick, and the others but their teams jumped the gun and are now paying for it.
"You better be sure that the guy you are going to play is the real deal or you might find yourselves throwing good money after bad," former agent Joel Corry told me. "The only guy that is an absolute certainty out of these young guys is Andrew Luck."
Russell Wilson might be another guy I'd sign, because I think his body of work is large enough to know without any hesitation that the Seahawks want him to be their quarterback for years to come.
But in the rarest cases, I'd much rather let the contract play out, like the Baltimore Ravens did with Joe Flacco, and then make a decision at that point. If I have to pay a little more for being patient, then so be it -- at least I'll write that contract with the full confidence of knowing what I am paying for, at least as much as that is possible in pro sports.
Otherwise I could potentially be giving big money to guys like Hoyer and Sanchez.