Quarterback is the glamor position in the NFL. Not surprisingly, it is the highest paying position as well. Teams are desperate to find a franchise quarterback and it is deemed to be an essential building block of a successful franchise. The problem with finding a good quarterback is they command high salaries. Due to the NFL's salary cap, committing a large proportion of available money to the quarterback constrains the ability of teams to find enough depth and talent to win. The Baltimore Ravens won their Super Bowl and then had to give Joe Flacco a $100 million contract. His contract resulted in them releasing several key parts of their championship team and a failure to make the playoffs the following year. The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks have been able to assemble talented rosters with great depth due to the small money they have committed to their quarterbacks. When both Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson sign their next contract, their teams may be forced to let go of some talented players to fit under the salary cap.
Given the importance of managing the salary cap it is imperative that teams do not over spend on any one player. This is more apparent for quarterbacks since they command the biggest salaries. This article lists ten Pro Bowl overpaid quarterbacks who have been selected to at least one Pro Bowl including as an alternate. Some of these quarterbacks cashed in on a few seasons of good play while others were paid for what they already accomplished rather than their future potential.
10 Drew Bledsoe - $103,000,000 with $14,000,000 guaranteed
9 Michael Vick - $100,000,000 with $36,000,000 guaranteed
8 Alex Smith - $27,775,000 with $9,000,000 guaranteed
7 Matt Schaub - $13,500,000 with $8,000,000 guaranteed
6 Carson Palmer - $16,000,000 with $10,000,000 guaranteed
5 Matt Cassel - $10,500,000 with $5,650,000 guaranteed
4 Jake Delhomme - $42,000,000 with $20,000,000 guaranteed
3 Jay Cutler -$126,700,000 with $38,000,000 guaranteed
Jay Cutler is probably the most talented quarterback in the history of the Chicago Bears. For a franchise renowned for their defense and special teams, acquiring a Pro Bowl quarterback in his prime from the Denver Broncos must have appeared like a godsend. Cutler has had an uneven tenure with the Bears. In his second season (2010), he helped the Bears host the NFC title game. Cutler withdrew from the game due to injury and received widespread criticism. Cutler has been a lightning rod figure with the Bears and has missed games due to injury which has cost the team and resulted in them missing the playoffs in 2011 and 2012.
2 Daunte Culpepper - $102,000,000 with $16,000,000 guaranteed
1 Donovan McNabb - $78,000,000 with $40,000,000 guaranteed
Donovan McNabb was probably the best quarterback in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles. He led the franchise to five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl appearance. In 2002, he signed a twelve-year, $115 million contract with the Eagles. McNabb probably lived up to that contract as he made four out of his six Pro Bowls after the deal. McNabb was traded to the Washington Redskins in 2010, which should have given the Redskins pause as the Eagles were a division rival. McNabb struggled in Washington and clashed with the coaching staff. He was benched at times in favor of Rex Grossman. Despite his uneven tenure, the Redskins rewarded McNabb with a $78 million contract before a Monday Night game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles won that game 59-28 and McNabb did not hold on to his starting job for the whole season.
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