Like every season, the NFL is teeming with a freshly unpacked new generation of colleges. The talent of young people like Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson is proven, not for nothing did they receive contracts for more than 50 million dollars (four-year salaries plus signing bonuses), however, its effect has to be immediate.
“When Aaron Rodgers came to the NFL (selected by the Packers in the 2005 Draft), he sat down to learn the system, he was the backup (for Brett Favre) and he got soaked little by little. 10 or 15 years ago that was the model for rookie quarterbacks: sit down to take notes, learn and by the second or third year they were making headlines, but nowadays, the rookie goes to the ring to provide solutions immediately, “he mentions. a El Economista, Ciro Procuna, football analyst at ESPN.
“The lack of patience in the NFL is more noticeable, it is no longer the NFL of before where you could have a Rodgers-type quarterback who came in after a legend like Favre and who was ready after four years, that no longer happens mainly because They are four or five year contracts and you have to know if you made the right decision or not. Not only that, there are headcoaches that can be fired. It also doesn’t help that the offensive rookie award is already exclusive to quarterbacks in recent years and that forces clubs to select them and get them to play ”, describes Ulises Harada, founder of the Primero y Diez site, specialized in the NFL.
That responsibility awaits Lawrence with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Wilson with the New York Jets and Mac Jones with the New England Patriots, all as quarterbacks. Their teams have not only made them headlines because of the level they projected in college, but also to exploit them economically.
“They are headlines because that is why the teams want them and they want, in addition, to exploit their rookie contracts to the fullest, with those first years in which they are not so expensive and they can build around them, benefiting from the effects of the salary cap, which becomes fertile ground ”, adds Procuna.
Currently, the minimum annual salary for a rookie is $ 610,000 and, in contrast, the maximum varies depending on the team and the agreed contracts. Trevor Lawrence is the highest paid of 2021 with a salary cap of 6.68 million dollars, although by joining Jacksonville he secured a total of 36.79 million for four years and 24.11 million more just for signing.
“Trevor is one of the best prospects to come to the NFL in the last two decades, he’s a player who happens every five, 10 or 15 years, in the style of Peyton Manning or John Elway. He won it all, he put Clemson University among the best in college football, he stands out for his arm strength, reading ability and because he has all the physical and mental attributes that are sought in the mold of a franchise quarterback, ”says Ulises. Harada.
Thanks to that winning performance from his college stage, Lawrence earned the right to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 Draft, although that meant he was signed by the worst-performing team in the NFL last season. Therefore, although his level is very good, experts do not speculate that he could even reach the postseason: “the Jaguars are not going to change overnight,” says Harada.
A similar situation happens with Zach Wilson. He was the second best ranked in the Draft and therefore chosen by the Jets, the second worst of the 2020 season. His economic benefit is 58 million dollars for having joined this team for the next four years, since 39% of That money comes from a signing bonus.
But for other rookies, the hopes of shining are better: “The conversation for rookie quarterback of the year is very interesting because history tells us that out of five or six prospects only one hits and we currently have a great class of rookie quarterbacks,” explains John. Sutcliffe, ESPN sportswriter.
“When Russell Wilson hit the Seahawks, everyone wanted the next Russell and it’s not that easy. Now we are living the new trend: knowing who is the next Patrick Mahomes, wondering if it could be Trey Lance (signed by 49ers), Justin Fields (Chicago Bears), among others ”.
For Sutcliffe, the start of the 2021 season is interesting because of this brood of rookies but also because, in general, “there are six or seven teams with many doubts about their quarterback,” as is the case with the Houston Texans and Deshaun Watson, the fourth best player. paid from the league this year ($ 39 million), but who is uncertain about participating since during the offseason he received 21 complaints of sexual harassment.
But it’s not just quarterbacks that are interesting in the new generation of players. For Ulises Harada, there are other prospects who will stand out in the nascent season such as Kyle Pitts (20 years), tight end for the Atlanta Falcons; Najee Harris (23 years old), running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers; and Elijah Moore (21 years old), catcher for the New York Jets. The specialist emphasizes that the Jets, Broncos and Browns are the teams that were best armed with rookies after the 2021 Draft.
Another one who will be on the fan and media radar is Mac Jones, who was selected by Bill Belichick as the Patriots’ starting quarterback after the loss of experienced Cam Newton. Newton disappointed with only one year in the team, in which he could not make forget the historical legacy of Tom Brady.
Now Jones, 23, is the chosen one, although his credentials are not convincing. He was the 15th pick in the draft and his contract is worth less than half that of Trevor Lawrence ($ 15.58 million): “I don’t see anything special about Jones, in his evaluation process, nothing about him was spectacular enough to revolutionize the league, it’s like an Andy Dalton, if everything goes well he gets you into the playoffs, but if everything goes wrong, what happens to Dalton with the Cowboys ”, concludes the creator of Primero y Diez.