Friday, March 6, 2015

Josh McCown is Not Overpaid!

Is Josh McCown way overpaid at $3.9 M in 2015?   Not really, once you realize that quarterbacks in the NFL make a lot of money.  

    Much of Browns Nation is up in arms over the signing of Josh McCown, a career backup who had a hot stretch of games two years ago at age 33, and now at age 35 he is being rewarded with a contact of about $3.9 million bucks per year.   How horrible!  

   But okay.  Let's step back from this a bit and ask what horrible things the Browns actually have done.   They made Josh McCown the 27th highest paid quarterback in the NFL, ahead of such guys as Ryan Fitzpatrick, Drew Stanton, Chad Henne, Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst. How crazy is that?  Well Fitzpatrick had a good year last year and probably deserves a pay raise, but the other guys are probably comparable in ability or maybe not as good.  

     How good should the 27th highest paid quarterback be? Well, if you believe in value, you would say he should be the 27th best quarterback, right?   That would place him with Nick Foles (27), Drew Stanton (28) and Geno Smith (29). These guys are all good but not great quarterbacks.  In case you are wondering, McCown and Brian Hoyer were both rated at about the same level, 32nd and 31st, respectively.   Down below, I've posted a list of the quarterback salaries in the NFL as of March 2015, along with their statistical ranking. The ones highlighted in red are still on their rookie contract, which basically amounts to a lower wage scale than the veterans.  

    If Browns fans think that we should have gotten someone like Jay Cutler, who might be available in a trade, okay, but understand he makes $16.5 Million, not the $3.9 Million bucks that McCown will make. 

    So basically, the crying is based the Browns making a guy who is he 32nd best quarterback into 27th highest paid quarterback.  This is a wash, as far as I'm concerned.  The guy is simply not being overpaid.  It's not a lot of money for a quarterback.  All quarterbacks with similar ability get that kind of money or much higher.  

   So perhaps the issue is not whether McCown was over-valued, but whether the Browns should have gotten someone else.  I believe that this will be the case and that they will be active in free agency and will go into the draft with the intention of either moving up for Marcus Mariota, or drafting someone like Brett Hundley, Garret Grayson or Bryce Petty, and developing them.  There is no urgency in starting the rookie from Day One with McCown in place, much like the duo of Hoyer and Manziel in 2014.   The Browns still have Manziel (and frankly are stuck with him).  Manziel's poor performances at the end of the season as well as pre-season inspire little confidence that he can actually play, but since they have guaranteed money tied up in him for three more years they are just going to have to play their entire hand. Remember that under the old system Manziel would be having his senior year at Texas A&M in 2015.  It may take until after the 2016 season before the Browns will be sure whether they have a player or. 

    As for Connor Shaw, he proved himself to be a competent field general and has good speed and toughness.  He is definitely undersized and has a weak arm (the only combine quarterback to not break 50 mph with his passes in 2014).  It might be possible to continue to keep him on the training squad for one more year, though there is some risk of him being claimed by another team.  Alternatively, there may be some other free agent quarterback who will challenge Shaw for the training squad slot.

    Many fans seem ready to hate McCown for being a "game manager" and "career backup,"  but I believe that the Browns will be well served if they complement him with another young quarterback with solid credentials.  He's not getting a lot of money, not for a quarterback.   

   So this year, I anticipate the Browns starting the season with McCown, with a high draft choice qb as the second string and Manziel as third string. Shaw will likely be on the training squad as the effective fourth string quarterback.  
Player Team Cap Value     Ttl QBR
1   Tony Romo Cowboys $27,773,000     1
2   Drew Brees Saints $26,400,000     6
3   Eli Manning Giants $19,750,000   15
4   Matt Ryan Falcons $19,500,000   11
5   Ben Roethlisberger Steelers $18,395,000     3
6   Aaron Rodgers Packers $18,250,000     2
7   Matt Stafford Lions $17,721,250   21
8   Peyton Manning Broncos $17,500,000     4
9   Philip Rivers Chargers $17,416,668   12
10   Sam Bradford Rams $16,580,000   --
11   Jay Cutler Bears $16,500,000   21
12   Alex Smith Chiefs $15,600,000   23
13   Colin Kaepernick 49ers $15,265,753   17
14   Cam Newton Panthers $14,666,000   16
15   Joe Flacco Ravens $14,550,000   16
16   Carson Palmer Cardinals $14,500,000     8
17   Tom Brady Patriots $14,000,000     5
18   Andy Dalton Bengals $9,600,000     25
19   Kyle Orton Bills $7,500,000     19
20   Andrew Luck Colts $7,034,363     11
21   Robert Griffin III Redskins $6,719,713     19*
22   Matt Schaub Raiders $5,500,000     --
23   Chase Daniel Chiefs $4,800,000     --   
24   Matt Cassel Vikings $4,750,000     --
25   Blake Bortles Jaguars $4,694,273     33
26   Ryan Tannehill Dolphins $4,030,887     14
27   Josh McCown Browns $3,916,666     32
28   Ryan Fitzpatrick Texans $3,875,000       9
29   Drew Stanton Cardinals $3,866,668     --
30   Chad Henne Jaguars $3,500,000     --
31   Matt Hasselbeck Colts $3,000,000     --
32   Charlie Whitehurst Titans $2,750,000     --
33   EJ Manuel Bills $2,423,264     --
34   Johnny Manziel Browns $1,874,681     --
35   Bruce Gradkowski Steelers $1,833,334     --
36   Kellen Clemens Chargers $1,822,500     --
37   Russell Wilson Seahawks $1,696,868    10
38   Nick Foles Eagles $1,677,880    27
39   Teddy Bridgewater Vikings $1,556,705    22

*Robert Griffin III didn't have enough games to be ranked, but his Quarterback Rating would have been about the same as Kyle Orton's.  Bryan Hoyer was ranked #31.  

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