The rookie wage scale has created, in some cities, a bizarre dynamic. Several backup quarterbacks make more money than the starter.
The latest example of that trend comes in Philly, where veteran Mark Sanchez reportedly will earn up to $4 million this year. Starter Nick Foles, in the third year of a third-round rookie contract, will earn $615,000.
Foles isn’t alone. In Seattle, Russell Wilson will make $662,434 in 2014; Tarvaris Jackson gets $1.25 million. With the Jets, Geno Smith will earn $663,164 in 2014, while Mike Vick makes $5 million. (Then again, Vick may end up being the starter.)
Even in San Francisco, the backup is (for now) making more than twice the amount the starter will receive. Blaine Gabbert has a fourth-year salary of $2.011 million. Colin Kaepernick will make, absent a new deal, $973,766.
It’s a disparity that will continue at least for the remainder of the current CBA, and possibly beyond. Unless and until the NFLPA negotiates an adjustment to the system that pays young quarterbacks significantly more, the most important position on the team will from time to time be manned by a player who’s making less money than his understudy.