Some More BS – 2013 NFL Salaries

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Written by: Carl Chenier and Jim Williams

As you’ve already seen previews of a new section on the website, here comes another with something we like to call “Some More BS” which is our new column based on our NFL-heavy podcast, The BS Big Show. Even though we’re in offseason mode right now, there was something interesting that happened to pop up on NFL.com and we’d like to give our thoughts on it real quick.

The main obstacle that all 32 NFL teams have to overcome in between February and the start of OTAs is the salary cap for next season. NFL’s official website posted a list of the richest contracts to be paid to various players for 2013. While they listed a top 25, we’ll just do the first 10 with more detail to save time, then we’ll have the rest of the list below it.. Just a quick note, the views here are mine and Jim’s, and doesn’t reflect others who are involved with CLW83.com, it’s sponsors, and all our panelists who take part on all our shows. We’ll chime in with our thoughts on whether they deserve the big money, whether they don’t, or just no strong feeling either way. Here’s the list:

1. Joe Flacco (QB, Baltimore Ravens). A gentleman we around these parts used to call him “Joe Flaccid” before their Super Bowl run pretty much started out very slowly from his rookie year to around 2011 until things really started taking off for him. He signed what’s turned out to be the biggest contract in the NFL right now with a six-year, $120.6 million dollar deal after winning his first Super Bowl in New Orleans last month.

2013 Salary: $20,100,000

Carl’s Take: A few of us on the show said he didn’t quite deserve as much as $15 million, but looking back on it now, I might’ve spoke a little too soon now that Ray Lewis is retired. This team in an instant has become Flacco’s and you should notice it becoming more of his team than the well-known defense that’s been very dominant pretty much throughout their entire existence. I would’ve settled on just around under 100 million overall and maybe about 16 or 17 for the first year of this new deal. He’ll be one QB to really watch out for in 2013, you got to believe.

Jim’s Take: He has more wins in his first 5 seasons than anyone currently playing.  He led his team to the promised land.  He deserves to be paid like a top flight quarterback.  Carl’s absolutely right when he says that the Ravens are now Flacco’s team.  It will indeed be interesting to see if he can carry Baltimore to a deep playoff run next January.

2. Drew Brees (QB, New Orleans Saints) His new deal began last season with a 5-year, $100 million figure. He got $40 million of it while taking on way too much due to all the Bounty Gate stuff they dealt with all last offseason. Despite that, he still managed to get over 5,000 yards for a second straight season and set even more various records. With Sean Payton back at the helm, things shouldn’t be as bad for 2013 for the Who Dat Nation.

2013 Salary: $20,000,000

Carl’s Take: Still putting up the numbers and setting records even with an overall team downfall in 2012, this is just about right for Drew, and there’s a possible chance some of his deal may get cut back a bit to help save his fellow teammates who have been a major asset for this team, especially during their Super Bowl run in 2009. To me, he still did more than he should’ve last season while acting as QB/head coach pretty much. With Payton back in place and Rob Ryan being brought in to turn around the NFL’s all-time worst defense in a season, things can only go up for Drew.

Jim’s Take: Forget football for a second.  Drew Brees personifies New Orleans.  You know as well as I do that the Saints had to back up the Brinks truck in front of Brees’ house or face alienation from their loyal fanbase.  To my honorable colleague’s points above, he’s still very much in his prime.  Despite a lackluster record, Brees still put up big numbers and with less pressure on his shoulders, I expect another 5,000 yard season for Drew.

3. Peyton Manning (QB, Denver Broncos.) He shut up many critics, including most of us last season where he led one of the biggest comebacks ever done by a QB in NFL history. It’s well known that he’s never going to operate at a full 100% again, but he still does just enough with his cat-like thinking on his feet during plays and the master of the no-huddle offense even at about 75-80%.

2013 Salary: $19,200,000

Carl’s Take: It’s still odd to me seeing Peyton in a uniform that isn’t the Colts, but I can see at least a good year or two left, then we’ll be seeing a retirement and he’ll become the most sought out person that all NFL partner networks will be forking over a lot of money to snag. I know John Elway took a big risk going after him and trading Tim Tebow (we all know that story there….moving on). At this point, I’m not sure an almost 37-year old QB may be worth over $19 million, considering how much he makes in just endorsements alone, but I can understand why he’s making this much. I still don’t believe he’ll make all five years of that deal, though.

Jim’s Take: The window is narrow for Manning.  Ultimately, if he doesn’t win the big one for Denver in the next 2-3 years, he’ll remain at least one title short of his younger brother.  Peyton’s 2012 season was nothing short of incredible.  It would be foolish of me to think he can match those numbers.  Then again, it would also be foolish of me to think he can’t either.  The fact remains that more than any other player in the league, Peyton is one hit away from the end of his career.  The risk/reward quotient is very high.  Hopefully, Denver is working on their contingency plan for life after Peyton.

4. Eli Manning (QB, New York Giants). This will get a mixed reaction within our network as we do have three well respected gentlemen who take part in our show who are Giants fans who will disagree with most of what’ll get said here. Eli’s had the fortune of having two Super Bowl wins with MVP awards both times, and on teams where injuries really had a big part and most of their playoff wins coming on the road during those two title years.

2013 Salary: $16,250,000

Carl’s Take: If it wouldn’t be for all the various injuries the Giants have had to deal with the past five seasons, I would have no problem with the figure Eli’s making at all, but there have been times, especially this past season where Eli’s looked like a complete shell of himself on both Super Bowl winning teams. It wouldn’t surprise me if he is asked to take a cut here and there to save cap room. To me, he should probably be only getting about 11-13 million at this point in his career now.

Jim’s Take: This is a very tough call.  Eli doesn’t get the respect he deserves.  He has more titles than his brother Peyton, but continues to play second fiddle to him in terms of how he’s regarded by his peers.  Does he deserve more than he’s making?  Ultimately, I think he does.  Will he help the team out by restructuring his deal?  I’m inclined to think he will.

5.) Calvin Johnson (WR, Detroit Lions). It’s not all QBs on this list NFL.com had here, but this is a bit intriguing after the year he ended up having after the first half of the season. After starting out with 638 yards, he finished 2012 breaking one of the most respected NFL records held by arguably the best NFL player ever in Jerry Rice who had set the prior record in 1995 with 1,848 yards. Johnson ended up with 1,964 total to set a new standard and to tell all those who believe in the Madden Curse to shove it.

2013 Salary: $16,200,000

Carl’s Take: Calvin and Matthew Stafford are the two key pieces to this Lions team. If they can get a GM who isn’t so WR-friendly in the draft and actually….I don’t know…. PICK A RUNNING BACK!, this team will definitely go further than their run in 2011. Until then, they’re definitely cursed and it doesn’t fall on the shoulders of either Johnson or Stafford.

Jim’s Take: What Carl said!  Seriously.  Megatron and Stafford are the best QB/WR tandem in the game today.  Period.  Bar none.  But, the Lions will go nowhere without adding a competent running back.  One dimensional offenses seldom yield high quality playoff teams in the NFL, and Detroit is one dimensional right now.

6.) Larry Fitzgerald (WR, Arizona Cardinals). This is the one guy most of us said last season on the show that the only reason it doesn’t seem like he deserves big money is due to having no real QB. The Cardinals went through the likes of Kevin Kolb, who got hurt, to a very bad John Skelton, then to a rookie in Ryan Lindley, then getting former Tom Brady backup Brian Hoyer, who didn’t seem to do any better than those three did. It’s a real shame, though…Fitzy is one of the most well respected and well liked players in the NFL today.

2013 Salary: $16,140,000

Carl’s Take: If the Cardinals want to get anywhere at all this year under new coach Bruce Arians, they’ll need to either get a QB in what I call a very weak draft class, or maybe go after someone in free agency…one guy I can think of off the top of my head is Chase Daniel who’s spent the last 4 years backing up Drew here in New Orleans….he seems like he could get it done. Getting a real QB is pretty much the only way you can say that Fitzy deserves this much money….right now, I would say he doesn’t even crack the 8-figure mark.

Jim’s Take: The Cardinals Carousel of Quarterbacks (I’ve applied for the trademark for this amusement ride, for the record) has certainly not done Fitzgerald any favors in terms of his worth.  I have to agree with Carl.  Fitzy’s worth maybe half of his salary right now, and it’s not anything of his doing.  It becomes tougher to perform and showcase your skills when your littany of quarterbacks end up on the turf or injured reserve.

7.) Mario Williams (DE, Buffalo Bills) We’re not gonna spend too much time on the former #1 pick in 2006 that started his career in Houston. When he signed with the Bills, we all said this was a bad move and it’s shown so far, and not all of it is his fault, really…..the system up there has sucked for years and will continue to suck, even with Doug Maronne joining on board.

2013 Salary: $16,000,000

Carl’s Take: Way too overpriced….I always feel that defensive players should only get over $10 million if they are making the most impact, and to me, Mario hasn’t had a chance to do diddly squat yet. That entire system needs to be changed up there in Buffalo and I don’t think Maronne can do it all by himself.

Jim’s Take: The only job Mario Williams has done well is that of being a cunning con artist.  He’s not worth even half of what he’ll be making.  You know how people ask, “What have you done for me lately?”  I’ve got another fair question.  Since moving to Buffalo, what have you done AT ALL?  Here’s a hint: nothing.

8.) Matt Schaub (QB, Houston Texans) After getting hurt in 2011, Matt was forced to watch from the sidelines while getting then rookie T.J. Yates ready to bring the Texans to the playoffs for the first time. Yates would win against the Bengals in the wild card, then would lose in the divisional round against the Ravens. After getting healthy, Schaub led the Texans to their best season record in their history with 12-4 despite some speed bumps along the way. A wild card rematch against the Bengals would await them this past season and they took care of them easily…this time, they had to get through Tom Brady and the Patriots to get farther, but Schaub went 1-1 as did Yates in the playoffs prior.

2013 Salary: $15,500,000

Carl’s Take: After having his best season statistically in 2009 where he racked up 4,770 passing yards averaging 298.1 yards per game…he’s starting to fall off the pace after only barely getting over 4,000 yards this past season. You can expect to see some kind of pay cut either this season or next, definitely. He’s not even a top 10 QB to me anymore, so he should be maybe getting half of what he’s getting this upcoming season.

Jim’s Take: We’ve seen in the past that when Schaub goes down, the Texans offense stays in sync.  So, he’s not worth the $15.5 million he’ll be making this season.  $10 million, maybe, but not $15 million.  The fact of the matter remains that Schaub is at best the 4th most important player on the team behind Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and J.J. Watt.

9.) Philip Rivers (QB, San Diego Chargers) Oh boy…we’re going to have a real field day with this, especially Jim. After having his worst season since 2007, we’ll be on the same lines of he shouldn’t even be getting $10 million. Jim had the inkling that he wasn’t himself at all and he was secretly hurt all throughout, but that entire organization was cursed from about 2008 until this past season when they finally let Norv Turner go.

2013 Salary: $15,300,000

Carl’s Take: This’ll be one team to watch out for in 2013 now that they snagged Mike McCoy away from their biggest rivals in the Broncos. All Rivers would need to get back to the kind of stats he had in 2010 would be another decent WR and some RBs to help lighten the load. Them losing Darren Sproles to us down here in New Orleans didn’t help much at all, and Ryan Mathews hasn’t proven jack squat either.

Jim’s Take: Oh how the halfway decent have fallen.  Five years ago, “Dollar Phil” was a top flight quarterback.  Now, he’s a shell of his former self.  To be fair, as Carl pointed out, he has no targets to fire his bullets at.  Will a change in coach solve all wrongs?  Probably not.  I think the best of Philip Rivers is in the rear view mirror.

Last one.
10.) Jay Cutler (QB, Chicago Bears). This will go a few different directions here….what if the Bears didn’t pick up Brandon Marshall? We would still be calling Cutler one of the worst QBs in the league, and it’s mainly due to the fact that his offense line isn’t worth much of crap and never really has been since coming to the Bears in 2008. For their sake, they’ll need to have a decent draft class and pick up a majority of people on O-line and D-line.

2013 Salary: $14,668,750

Carl’s Take: Until he can get better protection, Cutler is definitely not a top 10 QB and doesn’t deserve even half of this in 2013. Having the offense weapons in Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall sort of justify this figure, but until they can fix the line problems….sorry, Bears fans.

Jim’s Take: Saving the best for last, eh?  I’m in agreement with Carl.  The offensive line has more holes than the worst Swiss cheese you could find at your local delicatessan.  As such, Cutler’s numbers are erratic from game to game.  One week he’ll throw for 300 yards and 4 TDs, and the next he’ll throw for 150 yards and 4 INTs.  He’s a pedestrian, middle of the road quarterback, and is not worth eight figures, in my estimation.

Here’s the rest of the list in a smaller form with salary figures:

11.) Ben Roethlisberger: $14,664,417 (He’s slipping a bit too.)

12.) Adrian Peterson: $14,380,000 (That should go up a bit more after the near record breaking year.)

13.) Julius Peppers: $14,000,000 (That should come down by about 4 million.)

14.) Chris Johnson: $13,493,750 (Way overpaid.)

15.) Mark Sanchez: $13,491,667 (Not to be a total jerk here, but….you know our stance on this already with apologies to Jonathan Ragus, Jets fan and our main sponsor.)

16.) Sam Bradford: $13,000,000 (Let’s give him one more year to see if he can get the proper help he needs.)

17.) DeMarcus Ware: $13,000,000 (He’s pretty much their defense in Jerryworld.)

18.) Jason Peters: $12,862,500 (Not every day you see an OL player making anything over 10 million in one season, especially one who ruptured his Achilles tendon before last season began.)

19.) Aaron Rodgers: $12,700,000 (Probably the most underpaid QB in the league right now….I’d add on about 5-7 more million)

20.) Charles Johnson: $12,666,667 (Odd figure on a defense player Chico would know more about than I would)

21.) Ndamukong Suh: $12,600,000 (Clark won’t like when I say this, but probably the 2nd most uncaring and dirtiest player right behind James Harrison in the NFL.)

22.) Kevin Kolb: $12,421,600 (Not bad for a guy who won’t be starting a game in 2013.)

23.) Matthew Stafford: $12,333,333 (I’d even it out to about $15 million. See our thoughts on Calvin Johnson where we included some on Stafford also.)

24.) Jared Allen: $12,210,000 (He is pretty much the Vikings defense and most definitely an oddball.)

25.) Haloti Ngata: $12,200,000 (Now that Ray Lewis did his big swan song, this defense will become Ed Reed’s and Ngata’s.)

And there you have it. Next time on Some More BS, we’ll have a breakdown of round 1 of the NFL Draft that happens in a little under two months from now. Stay tuned!

The BS Big Show is our podcast that covers every aspect of the NFL that runs from May to February each season since 2009. Season 5 is set to debut in the middle of May.

Carl Chenier can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

Jim Williams can be found on Facebook and on Twitter also, along with running his personal website, jimwilliamsontheair.com.

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