From 2013 through 2016, the quarterback market stagnated. From 2017 through now, the quarterback market has exploded.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers enjoyed an extended stretch as the highest-paid player in the NFL, with a new-money average of $22 million per year, until Colts quarterback Andrew Luck finally leapfrogged Rodgers in 2016, with $24.6 million per year. An NFL player finally reached the $25 million mark on June 22, 2017, when Raiders quarterback Derek Carr signed a deal with five new years and $125 million in new money.
In less than 22 months since then, the high-water mark has increased by another $10 million per year.
From Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford ($27 million per year) to 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo ($27.5 million) to Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins ($28 million) to Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan ($30 million) to Rodgers ($33.5 million) to Wilson ($35 million), the market has gone higher and higher.
That will continue, as more quarterbacks move toward new deals. While some, like Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, won’t beat Wilson’s average, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield seemed destined to do so. (It’s hard to get a feel for where Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz will land on that spectrum.)
As the cap continues to increase and, in turn, franchise-tag amounts continue to grow, quarterbacks whose contracts are concluding will have more and more leverage. And multiple quarterbacks will eventually be making more money than Wilson.
The last time Wilson signed a long-term deal, his $21.9 million per year new-money average was close to the top of the market. As of Monday, his annual average landed in the middle of the pack. Within the next four years, Wilson could be right back there.