Which NFL QB Deserves Top Money: Allen, Jackson, Or Mayfield? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com
Now that the Dak drama in Dallas is over and Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has his new deal, the quarterback class of 2018 has three more players who are next in line for their big paydays. They are Buffalo’s Josh Allen, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, and Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield. While each player brings upside as well as downside to their teams, these three AFC teams will need to decide how much their quarterback is worth, with each quarterback needing to weigh how much their own contract means to them when compared to the team’s overall success. So, if you had to make a bet, which NFL QB will end up with a contract closest to the one Dak Prescott just signed: Allen, Jackson or Mayfield?
When it comes to regular season record, only Lamar Jackson has 30 victories in his first three seasons, that despite starting only 37 games, six less than Josh Allen (28-15) and eight less than Baker Mayfield (23-22). Of course, all three quarterbacks posted their first career playoff wins this past season, with Allen the only one to win twice as Buffalo reached the AFC title game.
Along with Jackson’s superior win total, the Ravens QB also has the highest quarterback rating of the three, aided by having the best completion percentage, but lowest yards per game average. This style of play is part of Jackson’s dual threat method of play that has him with nearly 3,000 rushing yards in his career, nine hundred more than Allen and Mayfield combined.
Lamar Jackson is going to be the wild-card of this trio for me, because I don’t know if Baltimore will be able to make him a better pocket passer, and I am fairly sure he will not be able to maintain the level of running he has done so far in his career. Jackson is worth a lot to his team and their offense is built around his skills, but how much longer will those skills be enough to win games when it’s clear by his 1-3 postseason record that good teams know how to defend him when it matters most.
How much he is worth to his team’s success would make Lamar Jackson worthy of a $40 Million/year deal, but like Prescott, seeing him have a deal that lasts beyond age 30 would be foolish of the Ravens to do since what you are seeing at 24 won’t last many more years. Seeing another short deal for big money is exactly how Dallas went and what Baltimore should do too.
While all three quarterbacks have taken on the personality of their home cities and are virtually the face of their respective franchises, the one closest to being replaceable is Baker Mayfield.
Cleveland plays better when the Browns don’t try to play hero ball by allowing their running game to control the line of scrimmage and letting Mayfield be a part of the game, not the focus of the offense. This “game manager” role is not worthy of a $40 Million/year deal such as Dak Prescott received; but as the NFL is often a contract copycat league, the Cowboys have allowed every QB in the league to get more than they deserve because of what they paid their quarterback.
While it sounds crazy to say that Mayfield might get Aaron Rodgers-like money ($33.5 Million/year), Mayfield probably means just as much to his team as Jared Goff ($33.5 Million/year) and Carson Wentz ($32 Million/year) meant to the Rams and Eagles when they signed their deals before getting traded. Which means $35 Million/year for Mayfield in two years isn’t out of the question.
While most might say Lamar Jackson is the more dynamic quarterback, for me the only true franchise quarterback in this group is Josh Allen. He, like Russell Wilson, runs when he needs to, but doesn’t live and die with his legs, but rather with his arm. A throwing arm that has always had power, but now knows how to find receivers down field and outside the numbers, making him better than Jackson from the pocket and providing a style of play that lasts longer in the NFL than Jackson.
Josh Allen is also trending up, with each of his three seasons seeing him get better, something that Mayfield and Jackson have not had in their career. Also, unlike his two AFC North counterparts, at least for now, Buffalo will have a strong say in who wins the AFC East for years to come with Allen behind center, something not guaranteed in the deep division on the other side of the lake.
It is likely that whoever signs second between Allen and Jackson will get a few more dollars than the other, with Mayfield coming in a distance third in this race to the bank. In the end, however, Allen’s success will be more worthy of the deal he signs, with Mayfield not, in my mind, expected to reach 30 with the Browns before the team realizes they need an upgrade. As for Jackson, if he stays healthy and can continue to run as he has done so far, then he might need his own bank, but I don’t see his game being sustainable over the long haul, which will limit his value.
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Which NFL QB Deserves Top Money: Allen, Jackson, Or Mayfield? | TooAthletic.com
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