As the NFL salary cap continues to rise each season and the value of franchise quarterbacks skyrockets with each record deal, NFL owners reportedly tried to push back against it this offseason. During negotiations on a collective-bargaining agreement, team owners pushed for a measure that would have put a cap on quarterback salaries.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, NFL owners became so worried over rising quarterback earnings that they pushed for a player salary cap. Specifically, owners wanted a structure similar to the NBA’s max deals for superstars.
The proposal would have been a major hit for the likes of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. All three stars have been in extensions talks with their teams on deals that are expected to set the new mark for the position.
Owners reportedly pushed for the proposal early in negotiations, but it was shot down immediately by the NFL Players’ Association and was not part of the final CBA proposal. Players approved the new 10-year CBA on March 15, which gave them a higher share of league revenue and additional benefits.
Prescott is likely the first among the three star quarterbacks that will sign an extension this offseason. He re-engaged in discussions with the Cowboys after being hit with the franchise tag and there is an expectation within the NFL that he will become the highest-paid player ever.
Of course, he likely wouldn’t be the highest-paid player for very long. Mahomes is expected to land a deal that will shatter the market, potentially hitting $40 million per season. Discussions between the Chiefs and their Super Bowl MVP aren’t expected to pick up until after the 2020 NFL Draft.
Watson might be the biggest uncertainty regarding an extension. While the Texans are certainly more than willing to give him a long-term extension, the recent trade of star receiver DeAndre Hopkins could cloud things. Some around the NFL have even speculated that Watson might not be with the Texans in 2021.
No matter what happens, the owners’ failed push to include a cap on player salaries is a significant win for quarterbacks. Now with the NFL expanding to a 14-team playoff and eventually a 17-game season, salaries for quarterbacks will likely climb even higher in future years.