So in the end, I don’t think the decision for either team was easy. It was simply what was best—for the makeup of the roster as a whole and, in the end, probably for the quarterbacks themselves too.
• Still, the deal, to me, makes all the sense in the world if you’re the Dolphins.
If recent history tells us anything, under the current economic system for rookies (which stretches back to the 2011 draft class), you want to have an answer on your first-round quarterback after three years. Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes were extended after three years. Josh Allen was, too. Sam Darnold, conversely, was dealt after his third year, and Kyler Murray is being forceful about a new deal now, after his third year.
“Quarterback is the most valued position, and because of that, you have to do two things—protect him, and go get him,” the exec continued. “Those premiums are higher now than they’ve ever been. That puts a team like Jacksonville in a quagmire. They just took Trevor, and now they have No. 1 again—so do you pick the guy to protect him or the edge rusher to get the other team’s guy?”
Long-term, that decision will, of course, loom large, because Aidan Hutchinson, or Evan Neal or Ikem Ekwonu, could give the Jaguars another premium-position star at a rookie-contract rate. And as for the Packers and Chiefs, on the other end of this equation? Their bet is that with all that draft capital, and another deep, talented crew of receivers available in the draft, they’ll be able to find suitable options for Rodgers and Mahomes.
But the exec’s point was it’s no coincidence that the two elite receivers changing teams, Adams and Tyreek Hill, are going from organizations that have quarterbacks on market-topping contracts (Rodgers and Mahomes) to teams that have quarterbacks on more affordable deals (Carr and Tua Tagovailoa).
Mahomes’s cap number, by the way, jumps from $7.433 million to $35.79 million this year, and will be well over $40 million (and into 50s in three seasons), every year from here through 2031. And even after Green Bay did a ton of cap gymnastics, Rodgers’s number is $28.53 million this year, $31.62 million next year, and into the 40s after that. Fact is, carrying that weight at one position means having to get some pounds back somewhere else.