Daniel Jones' contract is great news for Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow


The price of an elite quarterback just got a lot more expensive. For that, we have the Giants and Saints to thank, paying through the nose for Daniel Jones and Derek Carr, respectively. Sure, Jones’ deal is relatively light on guarantees ($82 million), but $40 million annually for a glorified game manager doesn’t exactly scream “discount.” Heck, even Geno Smith got the red-carpet treatment from the Seahawks, who inexplicably backed up the Brink's truck for a career journeyman whose long-awaited breakout didn’t come until his age-32 season. It all reeks of desperation, yet teams, in their lust for anything resembling competent quarterback play, continue to shell out huge money for retreads and other low-ceiling types seen as “safe.”

Shortsighted as this approach to roster construction may seem (almost every recent Super Bowl winner did so with a quarterback either on a rookie or below-market deal), it might be time to accept it as the cost of doing business in the NFL, with $40 million, for better or worse, representing the new industry standard for mid-tier starters. That should come as great news to Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow, all of whom are up for lucrative extensions.

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The NFL raised its salary cap this year to a record $224.8 million (up $16.6 million from last year), a trend that could help mitigate the rising cost of quarterback salaries. Still, if Jones is seen as a $40-million-a-year player, one can hardly fathom the king’s ransom Hurts and Herbert are in for, with $50 million seen as the “starting point” in negotiations for both players. Assuming they have good agents, what’s likely to unfold is a high-stakes game of chicken, with each using the others as leverage.

Acutely aware of the financial burden presented by Burrow, Hurts and Herbert, expect the Bengals, Eagles and Chargers to act with a sense of urgency, doing their best to maximize their current window with an understanding that, once their quarterbacks are compensated, there won’t be much margin for error. It’s a rite of passage that all teams lucky enough to draft a star quarterback will encounter, though it does put a drain on other resources, necessitating shrewd scouting and an eye for value.

With C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Javon Hargrave and James Bradberry all expected to depart in free agency, the Eagles are already feeling the weight of Hurts’ inevitable extension, clearing cap room for a player they see as the face of their franchise. Though Hurts, Burrow and Herbert won’t come cheap, paying them is better than the alternative, with Baltimore, after months of lowballing Lamar Jackson, now at risk of losing a generational talent in free agency.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw, Getty Images