Although they’re talking about a pile of money and the structure of a potential deal could be complicated, it’s really not that hard to at least get a gauge of what kind of money Brees should make. I just got a look at the salaries for all quarterbacks in the league and here’s a list of the top 10 based on average money earned per year over the course of an entire contract.
Tom Brady $18.1 million
Peyton Manning $18 million
Michael Vick $16.7 million
Eli Manning $16.25 million
Philip Rivers $15.3 million
Jay Cutler $14.7 million
Ben Roethlisberger $14.7 million
Sam Bradford $13 million
Aaron Rodgers $12.7 million
Kevin Kolb $12.4 million
In his current deal, Brees has averaged $10 million per year, which doesn’t even put him near the top 10. But there’s absolutely no doubt he’s a top 10 quarterback and should be paid like one. You can even make a very strong case that he’s a top three quarterback and should make something similar to Brady and Peyton Manning.
At worst, put him somewhere in the Vick and Eli Manning vicinity. But definitely give him more than Rivers. That’s the guy who replaced Brees in San Diego and there’s no doubt Rivers is a fine quarterback. But Brees still is a little sensitive that he got pushed out the door in San Diego. As great a person as Brees is, he still has some ego and a lot of pride. It’s hard to imagine him accepting less money than the guy who replaced him.
For the record, here’s the average per year on the rest of the NFC South quarterbacks. Atlanta’s Matt Ryan is at $11.25 million. Carolina’s Cam Newton is at $5.5 million and Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman averages $5.24 million.