Cincinnati Bengals superstar quarterback Joe Burrow will soon sign a contract extension that makes him the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL on an annual basis. Burrow is expected to become the second quarterback in NFL history to sign a contract that surpasses $300 million in total value, joining his arch-nemesis Patrick Mahomes atop the money-making mountain.
The market is always evolving, and Burrow’s impending agreement begs an interesting question. Who will be the next NFL quarterback to sign a $300 million contract following Burrow?
Burrow wisely waited for the updated quarterback market to take shape. This offseason alone, the likes of Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, and Justin Herbert have all signed lucrative extensions that surpassed $250 million in total value. All three quarterbacks are now earning more than $50 million annually. Because Burrow waited out the market and has arguably been a more consistent performer than his counterparts, he’ll sign a contract that tops those recent agreements.
Once Burrow signs his inevitable extension, he’s arguably the last quarterback of the current top-of-the-league crop to sign a deal as anticipated. When the ink is dry, Mahomes, Burrow, Josh Allen, Hurts, Herbert, Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers will all be locked into long-term deals. Dak Prescott is due for a new contract, but he won’t join the $300 million club given his advancing age. That makes guessing who the next $300 million quarterback will be more of a projection.
There isn’t a straightforward successor the way Burrow is now. The likeliest choice is Jacksonville Jaguars franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Lawrence is entering his third season with the Jaguars. Barring unimaginable disaster, the Jaguars will exercise Lawrence’s fifth-year option next summer. The No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft will become eligible to sign an extension during the 2023 offseason. Lawrence’s representation will be eager to kickstart those discussions. And there’s every reason to believe Lawrence’s play throughout 2023 will warrant a $300 million extension.
After a disappointing rookie campaign under the misguided guise of Urban Meyer, first-year head coach Doug Pederson swiftly got Lawrence’s development back on track. Lawrence was terrific in 2022. He completed more than 66% of his passing attempts, threw for more than 4,000 yards, and had 25 touchdowns versus just eight interceptions. Lawrence mastered Pederson’s offense while leading the Jaguars to the AFC South title and a historic come-from-behind playoff victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. Lawrence looked like the unbelievably talented quarterback prospect that was promised coming out of Clemson.
Now entering year two with Pederson, Lawrence should take another step forward.
The Jaguars doubled down on Lawrence’s development by acquiring a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver in Calvin Ridley. They also paid a premium to retain tight end Evan Engram. General manager Trent Baalke spent three of his four top-100 picks in the 2023 draft to strengthen Lawrence’s supporting cast on offense.
All these factors make Lawrence the leading candidate to succeed Burrow as the NFL’s third $300 million quarterback.
It’s somewhat difficult to find alternative candidates. Mac Jones is a long way off from taking that leap. Justin Fields, who like Lawrence, becomes eligible to sign an extension next summer, is an underrated candidate. Fields has to showcase growth as a more natural thrower if he hopes to join that conversation though.
I wonder if Josh Allen will consider renegotiating his contract at some point. Allen signed a six-year extension worth $258 million during the 2021 offseason. While the total value of Allen’s contract still ranks fourth across the league (it’ll drop to fifth once Burrow signs), other elements of his agreement haven’t aged as well. Allen’s average annual value (AAV) of $43.005 million ranks eighth, and could fall out of the top 10 altogether by next offseason. In 2023, Allen’s AAV is scheduled to occupy 19.13% of the Bills cap, per Spotrac. In 2024, that number falls to roughly 17.88 percent. By comparison, Herbert and Jackson will account for more than 21% of the Chargers and Ravens cap respectively.
The quarterback market continues to witness its overall value increase with each passing offseason. Burrow will soon become a $300 million quarterback. Lawrence will eventually join him.
- Sep 29, 2023
- Sep 29, 2023