Can Blake Bortles Be a $100 Million Quarterback?

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Blake Bortles wants to be a $100 million quarterback.

It’s a fine goal for a young signal caller, especially one who was so highly considered as a college prospect that he was selected third overall. A former first rounder, Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers, was just handed a $100 million contract by his team, continuing to pave the way for future salaries of young, gifted athletes at the NFL’s most important position. Bortles could be one of the future young players to follow in his footsteps.

Before we get carried away with Blake Bortles becoming a $100 million quarterback (as seemingly everyone is doing today) we should really ask the question, “Can Blake Bortles be a $100 million quarterback?”

While the $100 million mark is quickly becoming standard for the top players at the quarterback position (eight QBs now have a $100 million contract), it is important to note the disparity between those players and the rest of the pack. The lowest paid $100 million QB is Drew Brees, coming in with a deal at exactly $100 million. Brees is certainly worthy of such a contract. Above him is the promising Matt Ryan who has had some great seasons despite a miserable Atlanta Falcons team struggling. Newton’s newly minted $103 million contract gives him just $50 thousand more than Ryan. Above Newton we have Tony Romo ($108 million), Aaron Rodgers ($110 million), Colin Kaepernick ($114 million), Joe Flacco ($120 million), and Jay Cutler ($126 million). The two greatest quarterbacks of the past decade (aside from Rodgers), Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, are making $34 million and $27 million on their current contracts, respectfully.

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Of those $100 million men, I think it’s safe to say that four of them deserve it. I question Newton earning that $100 million, along with Kaepernick, Cutler, and Ryan. Of those four, Ryan is the best in my eyes. Brees, Flacco, and Rodgers all have Super Bowl rings, so they have definitely earned that money for themselves and for their team. Rodgers is the best quarterback in football and could be paid pretty much anything he demanded. Romo is the odd man out here, caught in a limbo of good enough but not great. He’s on the cusp of winning a Super Bowl, but even if he doesn’t I think we’ll find history is quite kind to his run as signal caller for the Dallas Cowboys.

Based on who has a $100 million contract and who doesn’t, I believe that Blake Bortles has a good shot of getting one eventually. Kaepernick’s is almost purely based on potential (I still don’t buy into him being the guy in San Francisco), Cutler’s tremendous arm and great highs earn him the biggest QB contract despite his equally great lows, and Newton earns his $100 million by being the best player on a team that somehow finds ways to struggle year in and year out. Those are great ways to make a lot of money and if Bortles can prove to be the best player on a Jaguars team that continues its long rebuild, then I expect he’ll get a nice big contract close to $100 million at the end of his rookie deal.

In answer to the question posed in the title, yes he can get a $100 million contract. The big question we’ll be wondering about before he gets there is whether or not he deserves $100 million. As mentioned earlier, I only believe half of the current $100 million quarterbacks truly deserve it. If Blake Bortles gets a Lombardi Trophy for the Jags, he’ll certainly deserve it. If he plays like Tony Romo for a decade, he’ll deserve it. If he comes out hot and cold for a long career he may end up getting $100 million, but in my mind I’m not certain that makes him worthy of it.

Of course, teams are desperate to hold onto competent signal callers. Ryan Tannehill is making the seventh most money per year average among quarterbacks for the Miami Dolphins. He hasn’t proven to be the guy just yet, but Miami needs a quarterback who can consistently get the ball past the line of scrimmage. The market dictates high money for quarterbacks, even unproven mediocre ones. Maybe by the time Blake Bortles ends his rookie deal, basic competencies will be rewarded with $100 million.

Next: Can T.J. Yeldon Break 1000 Yards?

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